30 December 2012

Thinking with a Renewed Mind #11

It is important for us to realize that before we are corrected by God about a matter, it is emphatically natural for us to think errantly. Of course, when we think about it. We serve God with our mind, as Paul confesses, but our flesh carries about the body of death which shall be replaced when Jesus comes back. That which is rooted in old nature is natural to the old nature. In practical life, we make things too complicated for easy assimilation, and this complication should be a warning sign.

So how is it that we do not see the plain truth in the moment prior to God's revelation ?

We do not see what God corrects us about prior to His intervention because anything we know is revealed to us in His graceful sanctification of our new creation mind, spirit and soul. We are new creations; God's workmanship. We do not dare build upon that which God does not supply according to is plan, do we?

Some folks approach knowledge of God, of the truth, as if we ourselves discover God; as if we renew our own minds, or act of our own faith which we drum up like the proverbial pulling oneself up by one's bootstrap. This is really sad, my family. These views of God are Anthropological not Theological. We all have moments where this too is our approach, but we do not learn this way from Jesus or God the Spirit.

Paul writes of Judgment Day, where hay, wood and stubble are burnt away. Would God provide you materials such as these to build with? Absolutely not. What a poor view of God one would have if this was their view, true? I'm afraid that is true, and I'm afraid we all think this way on occasion.

This illustration Paul uses indicates the origins of the precious, eternal materials which are to be built upon the sure foundation. We either submit or we do not. We either die to ourselves or we do not. There is no half-way for us, God has not allowed that option for us. In fact, in Revelation Jesus says the lukewarm make Him want to "spew", "hurl", unceremoniously dispatch from His mouth.

How do we end up in this place? By not offering ourselves as living sacrifices unto God, by Jesus Christ our High Priest, empowered by God the Spirit; and by having our minds renewed.

As humans we readily conceive the building of 'mental constructs', including the famed Memory Palaces of renown. The process of renewing our mind can not be the process of our throwing data into the back of our minds hoping some of it sticks.

We may memorize Scripture for a variety of reasons. I've heard it said by teachers that this way we provide Scripture for God the Spirit to dig up for us in a moment of need. In fact I've used this justification myself when I was younger in the faith.

We do not have to help God bring Scripture to mind for us, we need to read the Bible and understand what we read before we start memorizing. But memorization allows for comparison and competition, judging value piecemeal.

In my writing this paper, I tried to recite the books of the New Testament even though I have made no attempt to do so in over 39 years. I was able to get them all although not in order after Hebrews. Because I've been studying the Scripture it flowed fairly well, with no conscious effort. Our awareness of the word of God needs to be learning the practical revelation of truth in Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Memorization of books, book order, apostles' names, can very well end up being wood, hay and stubble. Rather than this, we should be teaching and encouraging each other and the children is the basics: a survey of the Old Testament based upon age and awareness.

For example, if a person just came to faith and has never read the Bible, the last thing we need to do is put this person in a class of mature adults. Whereas if we have a 13 year old who has spiritual awareness of a mature believer, then we shouldn't confine the 13 year old to his peers by age but by spiritual maturity.

As a personal example, I'm going through my studies for finishing my associates in one year. There were a series of clear indications from God that this is what I need to do. It is a demanding schedule, but I have no time to waste. If I get involved with an indepth Bible study that does not point to my coursework, am I building with combustible or eternal material? Just because I'm studying for a bachelors of theology doesn't mean I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Another example is one we are all familiar with, those folks who are distracting themselves with too many activities in the Church to where they are visitors and strangers to their neighbors and sometimes even family. This is building with wood, hay and stubble. If we are supposed to be working on our marriage, but instead work on committees for mission, worship team and other activities - then I'm not being obedient.

What we ourself label as God's will and/or God's work may not be so. Sometimes it may even be intentional inactivity which is God's will for us. Compare Him saying "be still and know that I am God", and "He has told you O Man, what is required; to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."

Ours is an interactive living relationship with God and others. Prescriptions for and codes of behaviors tend to be stifling to persons who are supposed to be in love of God and through that love of others as if they were more worthy than ourselves. We kknow there is need for training and education, yet beyond these there is the vibrant call to be who you are becoming by the grace of God in all its expression.

It was the compulsive and cultic-ritualist Jews who had prayers for every moment and action, who had formats, codes and regulations refined beyond what is written to show how holy they were compared with others. These they elevated above faith and mission which they were called to provide for the whole world. Form is easy to excel in, whereas function can not be faked before it is exposed before too long.

To have the form of godliness but denying the power thereof is not the description of faithful disciples of Jesus. It is descriptive of the product of a fallen, worldly, unrenewed mind. It is the exposure of a proud self who will not submit to God.

And before we look at others, as if "but Lord, what of these?", we need to examine ourselves to see if we remain firm in the faith. We stand or fall based upon the foundation of our confidence in God. We either have faith that Jesus provided all that is necessary for life and faith (and so much more) or we believe somehow that we are adequate in ourselves now that we've been given a hand-up instead of a hand-out.

Who is kidding here? We are all beggars in one view, but another we are all spiritually dead prior to being born of God (see John one).

12 February 2011

Thinking with a Renewed Mind pt10

Let us consider our poverty before Christ; that we are wholesome only in Him by the will of the Father and activity of God the Spirit. This is our sure claim: that we belong to Him who loves us more than we can fathom, who gives us what we receive, and to whom belongs all glory and worship and debt of love because He first loved us. Selah.

Now, because of the Incarnation, we are in union with Him by new creation; this body of fallen flesh shall one day be exchanged for new flesh in the likeness of Jesus as He is now and always. We are united, one flesh with the Divine Yes.

We are His own possession, the Bride of Christ.

Let us stir one another unto right thinking. Let us hear God exhort us in the following passages to see ourself in the mirror by faith, however dimly now, which is laid out according to the structure of Proverbs 31.

Deut5.33 -- You shall walk in all the way which the Lord God has commanded you...
Acts2.38 -- ...Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Rom12.1-3, 21; Titus2.14; 1Tim3.11

1Thes4.9-12 -- ...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

1Tim5.8 -- But if any one does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Matt10.16 -- Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
Rom16.19

1Tim6.18,19 -- Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. Eph4.1-16; Luke11.17(...every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house against a house falls.)

1Pet4.1,2 -- Therefore since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Rom13.10-14; Eph6.10-18; 1Pet5.6-10

2Tim2.4,5 -- No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.

Col3.23-25 -- Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.
Phil2.3-5 -- Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
Eph6.5-8

James1.27 -- This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Gal2.10 -- They only asked us to remember the poor - the very thing I also was eager to do.
Luke6.30-33 -- Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back... and if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
Amos4.1; 8.4-6; James2.5,14-17

1Pet4.7-11 -- The end of all things is at hand; therefore be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another... be hospitable to one another, without complaint. As each has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God....
2Cor10.17

Phil1.20,21;2.13 -- for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure... according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything but that with all boldness Christ shall even now, as always be, exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
1Pet3.1-6

1Cor12.7 -- But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1Pet2.11,12; Heb10.23-25

2Cor4.15-18 -- For all things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our other man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glor far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Phil4.4-9; Eph3.13-21

Titus3.12 -- Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentions, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
2Tim2.24-26; 4.1,2; 1Tim6.3-6

Eph4.1-16 -- ...from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
1Thes5.12-23

Titus3.14 -- And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

Ps122.6,9 -- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may they prosper who love you... For the sake of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good.
Heb12.22-24 -- But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
1Jn3.1; 1Thes2.7; Gal4.19,22-31; 1Cor11.22; Rev19.7-9;21.9,10; Isa49.20-23

In our digestion of this spiritual nurishment, food for our renewing minds, let us not make haste.

And after considering Her who is considered by Jesus to be His Beloved, may we individually and collectively attend to these dual questions:
Do I/we see the good of Her (the New Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb)?
As members of the Body, am I/are we doing my/our main function?
Do I/we resemble the picture formed by reading these Bible texts?
Do I/we seek my/our own good, and not that of the Body?
Who am I/are we, and whom do I/we serve in submission under?
Am I/are we the Lord's Help-mate, corresponding to Him, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh?

We are speaking of Her who is purchased as His own possession, remember, not any humanly organized gathering under our traditions. Gather we will, slight differences we have. It is my contention that my own position is within the Body, therefore there is an individual and corporate response to each of the previous questions. I must consider myself and ourself in relationship with Him.

Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost... Listen to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. And the Spirit and the bride say,"Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.(Isa55, Rev22; John6)

Now, think about that. Selah!

sdg

Thinking with a Renewed Mind pt9

We will find God's description of the excellent wife in Proverbs 31. Ruth is a good case study to supplement reading this Proverbial passage. Prayerfully let us approach to hear what the Spirit says to the Church.

In this proverb about the most excellent wife, verses 11 and 23 tell of her husband. But this telling is encompassed in relationship to her. Keep in mind that we are learning about ourself, the collected members of the new creation Body of Christ. Our spiritual Husband can be seen in the man of this Proverb; albeit not directly.

This husband trusts in her and is known in the gates for his leadership and wisdom. His wife is very productive, and it is to his gain. Note that only by her being trustworthy and gainfully productive can the husband be all that he is in the social and religious community at the gate; she is blessed by who he is, he is blessed by who she is. They are together in this, even with separate roles.

The rest of the passage is about who she is. This is our description, together we stand in His faith as the excellent wife. Recall that in this picture, the story picks up with the husband already having provided for her needs, just as Jesus has done for us.

Let us continue to think with our renewing minds, as God allows:

-- She does him good and not evil all her life.

-- She works with her palms, with quality items.

-- She feeds the household with the best of foods, even providing for all who labor within the house.

-- She judges situations with a keen, knowing eye; and invests wisely.

-- She produces the fruit of the vine, for the whole household to have joyful and glad hearts, that is nutritious as well; she is a wise manager.

-- She strengthens herself for taxing tasks ahead.

-- She discerns the good she does, working at all hours as needful.

-- She is not above doing the most menial of tasks.

-- She tends to the poor and needy outside the household.

-- She prepares for the seasons with quality provision.

-- She allows for her husband to be honored among men.

-- She provides garments, from finery to workbelts, for inside and outside the household, and to profit.

-- She looks forward in strength, hope and dignity.

-- She speaks with wisdom and teaches gently.

-- She attends all needs for function and fulfillment in the household she was provided.

-- She is industrious and fruitful, not idle.

-- She is honored by her children and praise by her husband, who calls for reverence of her.

Perhaps you will come up with a better list than I have, all the more wonderful. In our renewing mind we know this is just not a story that the Spirit of God presents us with.

Next time I will provide a list which I believe go along with the mentioned list that I've gleaned from the text. These came from my own search of the Scriptures in prayerful study of the word.

For now, what can we say about this liberated woman? Surely she has no time or inclination for idle gossip, for such would not fit the temperment and description provided us. She has not the manner of one given to addictions or ill-behaviors of any sort.

She even, think of this, addresses the needs from linen gowns to hardy workbelts for tradesmen and other laborers and that to a profit for the house.

She cannot be a micro-manager or abusive in the house. She knows, follows and teaches the instruction of the Lord. Her proficiency allows for her husband to be at the gate. This means he sits with elders gathered to teach and to make judgments civil and religious. This is a high place of honor in the society.

She has been allowed freedom to express herself with talents, ingenuity and intellect. She takes what is given and brings a bounty to the benefit of others. She is purposeful, energetic, and not above doing any task required.

When she engages in activity, she devotes herself to excellence with a discerning eye. She is aware not only of market value, she attends to the poor and needy who are outside the marketplace.

She has a hopeful outlook and is valued by her offspring. She provides for all who are in the household, even maids and other laborers. She could not be known for being cheap or tight-fisted; a hilarious giver, she is. She is self-aware enough to evaluate who she is without comparing herself against others.

This is who the Body of Christ is to be. This is the direction we are being built up into and conformed in every way according to the Father within our arranged marriage. This is why the Spirit of God indwells us, not for amusement, entertainment and self-indulgent use of our gifts and talents.

I must ask myself, and challenge you as well, if I am self-aware enough to evaluate who I am and how I function?

Similarly, are we behaving this way while our husband is at the gate?

It is easy to be critical, even of self, so we must keep perspective. The Body of Christ is not the individual member, nor the local, regional or national realm of individuals gathered in His Name.

She (the Bride) is not limited to our current activity in the house. She came to life officially in Abraham by God's promise to his Seed - who is Christ our Lord. She is in an arranged marriage since her birth.

We in person and in the local assembly are, by the Holy Spirit, either in cooperation with the Body or we are outside God's will. Perhaps we can mentally relate another good analogy to help us continue grasping the truth presented in this vein.

Let us compare us to cells, perhaps. We are in the body where we are created; during the life of the Body in this world. Every cell is called to function as and where God designed. Some cells may be said to be in the toe-nail, hair follicles, heart, tongue, liver or hip joint.

As Christ's body, we are integrally connected to the mind of Christ. All function stems from and for the mind of Christ.

The more the hard sciences probe the wonders of the human body, the more design we discover. All of these activities are coordinated under the head to function as designed. If any part of this activity is non-functioning or malfunctions, we call these diseases or disorders.

When you and I face God in our lives we need to allow His light to penetrate the darkness about us. In our prayers, study, worship, meditation, to all our relationships even, do we stand as healthy, vibrantly living in God's provision and grace?

This is the evaluation we do to see if we remain in the faith, as Paul urges us. This is the process of coordination, from the head to us, as we respond and communicate back to the head.

May the circle be unbroken. Selah

Soli Deo Gloria
We will find God's description of the excellent wife in Proverbs 31. Ruth is a good case study to supplement reading this Proverbial passage. Prayerfully let us approach to hear what the Spirit says to the Church.

In this proverb about the most excellent wife, verses 11 and 23 tell of her husband. But this telling is encompassed in relationship to her. Keep in mind that we are learning about ourself, the collected members of the new creation Body of Christ. Our spiritual Husband can be seen in the man of this Proverb; albeit not directly.

This husband trusts in her and is known in the gates for his leadership and wisdom. His wife is very productive, and it is to his gain. Note that only by her being trustworthy and gainfully productive can the husband be all that he is in the social and religious community at the gate; she is blessed by who he is, he is blessed by who she is. They are together in this, even with separate roles.

The rest of the passage is about who she is. This is our description, together we stand in His faith as the excellent wife. Recall that in this picture, the story picks up with the husband already having provided for her needs, just as Jesus has done for us.

Let us continue to think with our renewing minds, as God allows:

-- She does him good and not evil all her life.

-- She works with her palms, with quality items.

-- She feeds the household with the best of foods, even providing for all who labor within the house.

-- She judges situations with a keen, knowing eye; and invests wisely.

-- She produces the fruit of the vine, for the whole household to have joyful and glad hearts, that is nutritious as well; she is a wise manager.

-- She strengthens herself for taxing tasks ahead.

-- She discerns the good she does, working at all hours as needful.

-- She is not above doing the most menial of tasks.

-- She tends to the poor and needy outside the household.

-- She prepares for the seasons with quality provision.

-- She allows for her husband to be honored among men.

-- She provides garments, from finery to workbelts, for inside and outside the household, and to profit.

-- She looks forward in strength, hope and dignity.

-- She speaks with wisdom and teaches gently.

-- She attends all needs for function and fulfillment in the household she was provided.

-- She is industrious and fruitful, not idle.

-- She is honored by her children and praise by her husband, who calls for reverence of her.

Perhaps you will come up with a better list than I have, all the more wonderful. In our renewing mind we know this is just not a story that the Spirit of God presents us with.

Next time I will provide a list which I believe go along with the mentioned list that I've gleaned from the text. These came from my own search of the Scriptures in prayerful study of the word.

For now, what can we say about this liberated woman? Surely she has no time or inclination for idle gossip, for such would not fit the temperment and description provided us. She has not the manner of one given to addictions or ill-behaviors of any sort.

She even, think of this, addresses the needs from linen gowns to hardy workbelts for tradesmen and other laborers and that to a profit for the house.

She cannot be a micro-manager or abusive in the house. She knows, follows and teaches the instruction of the Lord. Her proficiency allows for her husband to be at the gate. This means he sits with elders gathered to teach and to make judgments civil and religious. This is a high place of honor in the society.

She has been allowed freedom to express herself with talents, ingenuity and intellect. She takes what is given and brings a bounty to the benefit of others. She is purposeful, energetic, and not above doing any task required.

When she engages in activity, she devotes herself to excellence with a discerning eye. She is aware not only of market value, she attends to the poor and needy who are outside the marketplace.

She has a hopeful outlook and is valued by her offspring. She provides for all who are in the household, even maids and other laborers. She could not be known for being cheap or tight-fisted; a hilarious giver, she is. She is self-aware enough to evaluate who she is without comparing herself against others.

This is who the Body of Christ is to be. This is the direction we are being built up into and conformed in every way according to the Father within our arranged marriage. This is why the Spirit of God indwells us, not for amusement, entertainment and self-indulgent use of our gifts and talents.

I must ask myself, and challenge you as well, if I am self-aware enough to evaluate who I am and how I function?

Similarly, are we behaving this way while our husband is at the gate?

It is easy to be critical, even of self, so we must keep perspective. The Body of Christ is not the individual member, nor the local, regional or national realm of individuals gathered in His Name.

She (the Bride) is not limited to our current activity in the house. She came to life officially in Abraham by God's promise to his Seed - who is Christ our Lord. She is in an arranged marriage since her birth.

We in person and in the local assembly are, by the Holy Spirit, either in cooperation with the Body or we are outside God's will. Perhaps we can mentally relate another good analogy to help us continue grasping the truth presented in this vein.

Let us compare us to cells, perhaps. We are in the body where we are created; during the life of the Body in this world. Every cell is called to function as and where God designed. Some cells may be said to be in the toe-nail, hair follicles, heart, tongue, liver or hip joint.

As Christ's body, we are integrally connected to the mind of Christ. All function stems from and for the mind of Christ.

The more the hard sciences probe the wonders of the human body, the more design we discover. All of these activities are coordinated under the head to function as designed. If any part of this activity is non-functioning or malfunctions, we call these diseases or disorders.

When you and I face God in our lives we need to allow His light to penetrate the darkness about us. In our prayers, study, worship, meditation, to all our relationships even, do we stand as healthy, vibrantly living in God's provision and grace?

This is the evaluation we do to see if we remain in the faith, as Paul urges us. This is the process of coordination, from the head to us, as we respond and communicate back to the head.

May the circle be unbroken. Selah

Soli Deo Gloria

31 January 2011

Thinking with a Renewed Mind pt 8.

Do I look like Jesus? Jesus looked with loving, gentle, knowing eyes. His eyes were aided by the Holy Spirit.
Do you sound like Jesus? Jesus spoke the truth in love, in every situation as gently as the situation warranted. He spoke what He heard from the Father because of the Holy Spirit's empowering Him to live the life we are called to.
Do we act like Jesus? He did what He saw the Father doing. He even told us that greater works shall we do.

So do we? Oh, I mean the greater works; do we do them like Jesus said we would? That question should be mulled around in the old noodle, to see what's cooking.

Is it soup yet?

The way we understand God, reality and ourselves is called a worldview or paradigm. Everyone has a paradigm, even Adam and Eve (though they didn't need belly buttons.) Every last one of us is created in a kind, and a type (or likeness therein).

During our development into adulthood, we are influenced by the worldviews we are exposed to by all mediums and means. As we move chemically into puberty we begin owning our own paradigm. Our brain chemistry continues to form until about the age of 23 for females and up to 28 for males. Same kind, different type or likeness.

When we speak of being "born of God", this is not speaking of an event we "grow" into, like evolving spiritual development. It is also not a role we mature into.

Being born of God is the intervention of God to create a new spiritual life form within our soul of this peculiar flesh and blood person. This new being we are lives forever, and we are not sure what actual form we will have on the other side of death or Rapture - but we do know we will be like our Master. The Bible tells us so.

Nicodemus was flabbergasted by the concept of being born again. Jesus disturbed the compacency in old Nick's scholarship and devotion as a leader of the Jewish faith. On our side of the coin, so many in the Christian arena are used to the phrase, and get a little-dulled to the concept. Their eyes glaze over. Yet, this is Jesus' own words. This isn't something made up in the 1970's. This is not something Jimmy Carter should have been slandered with by some in the Christian community. But he was.

We can help others in the community of faith understand the concept by hearing their real testimony of God's handiwork in their life. Others know it based upon an event or activity since which they are new people. The awareness of having been born of God is more important than knowing assundry items like time, place, event, etc.

Some people cannot comprehend that knowledge; nor that works are not the way we are born of God. Jesus tells us we are new creations by the power of the Spirit of God, who goes around untraceable as the winds. These are the words of Jesus, not some student of doctrine or theologian. Not all flesh receives the Holy Spirit of Christ in their life, but every new creation has gone through the process of receiving God the Holy Spirit who indwells us.

Proven track record

Once we start, we are spiritual babies, then spiritual children, then spiritual adulthood, and then maturing into spiritual adulthood -- which is of the stature owned by Jesus, you know, He who is the self-revealed Son of Man.

No amount of knowledge may make an event occur; so it is with our spiritual birthing into union with God through Jesus our Lord. It is not our will, nor actions we have or have not done. The righteous have always lived by faith. We are not Gnostics. Only God alone can speak things into existence, can make things happen by knowledge of it.

Now, to think with the unrenewing mind, means to buy into a complex set of concepts which have no foundation in reality. May we remind ourselves often enough that Jesus Himself had to grow in knowledge as he developed from childhood into young adulthood. He set aside the privileges of being God so as to become the Son of Man, the Servant, the perfect human who walked the real world without sin.

Because of a renewed mind, and interrelational activity between ourself and God, we find God revealing in us the paradigm of God. We being sharing the mind of Jesus by supernatural means. We do this through God's previous revelation in all its forms. This task is accomplished by God the Holy Spirit sealing us in communion with God.

There is joy discovered in God's worldview. It is the transcedent truth in immanent locale. The word of God becomes flesh, and in Christ Jesus we are promised to share in the peace, joy, satisfaction, security. We are released from captivity of our mortal mind and its inability to know truth. We, as saints, are now able to receive things of God.

A quote I saw stated that if our world is getting larger and funnier, our intelligence is increasing. If our world is geting smaller and depressing, our ignorance is increasing. This aligns itself with the experience we kknow from the history of faithful righteous saints of the past. Is this your experience?

Tell me, how else could we rejoice in our sufferings? How could it be that we maturing priests of God, are not driven by the same old compulsions, obsessions and preoccupations? Is it really possible for us to announce we are forgiven in Christ, without a peaceful Amen resounding in our being? How can we respond to inquiries as to the hope others see in us, if we have not the comfort of God with which to comfort others?

We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us. This we know for the Bible says so.

Plugged In

To be connected with the only source of all life and living means that we have abundant life, just as Jesus promised. Of course we like to think of that in terms of all blessings, which is true. But we live in a fallen world, and there is authentic heartache, sorrow, mourning and tragedy. This too we are now open to abundantly. This was the world as Jesus walked it, and we are called to follow Him.

In love we are created, in love we are sustained. In love we are corrected, healed, and conformed into His mature image of the human who walked according to the will of God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus comes, this partial knowledge and conformity will by fulfilled and we will start eternity as completely new creations. Then we will know as fully as God intends and prepared us to be. This doesn't mean omniscience, for only God knows all. We will fully know as God's creatures designed for right relationship with Him and each other.

In our current position, our desire and obedience, to know in part, is not optional. It is deemed essential by God according to God's own counsel and wisdom. Healthy new creations have this desire, obedience and partial knowledge.

Should one have little to no desire to know in part, in a growing and maturing relationship of kknowing God, it is time for that one to pray "I believe, help my unbelief." To ask, seek and knock until the desire to be in union with Him and His household is restored. This is not said so as to swerve off in a mystical direction. What does Jesus say?

Love your enemies, do good to all men, pray for those who persecute you, forgive and you will be forgiven, love even those who do not love us. We are called to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. How is it that anyone can stand content that they love and share God's grace in action, perfectly. Please mull over the word "perfectly." It doesn't give room for almost or not quite, so it is beyond our own means even as new creations; that is, unless we are plugged into Jesus and bearing His fruit.

We are not to bear our own fruit, for such is worthless for eternity and pitiful before God.

Are we content with only with receiving God's partial grace, love and forgiveness? Does God settle for us getting in the way of Him providing grace, love, and forgiveness to others? Which God do you serve? We must be all means continue rejoicing and experiencing God's inviting us to the inner sanctum. This of course may sound "mystical " to some folks, it is beyond ourselves and our imaginations. It is mysterious to the old nature; which cannot know the truth.

You and I were raised by varying degrees, in conformity to the world, so as not to actually acknowledge the Supernatural. That is the world we live in. In Jesus finally no doubt is left, the Supernatural has invaded our planet. This realm for many is the habitat for boggarts, elves, ghosts, fairy tales and possessed tortured individuals. Of course the world considers it such, for their idea is full of childish rumor, fears and secrets. But as adults in Christ we move on because of knowledge which tells us this version of the supernatural does not exist. It is for the natural mind a delusion of the realm of Evil.

As new creations we know that when we were children we thought, spoke, and reasoned like children; as Paul says, "but when I became a man I put away childish things. Have you wrestled with all your own childish things? Do you want what you want when you want it, on your own terms? That is completely childish. Even if what you desire rightfully is maturity in the faith.

Purposeful Discipleship

Theology, as the study of knowledge of the persons of God Himself, must be our passion of Him. Proclamaton of God's truth and revelation is the point of theological study in our missional duty as citizens of His Kingdom. We believe, therefore we speak. The power of God is not seen in our ability to dazzle folks with theory, possibilities, and fancy language. It is not found in a pagan-style endorsement and persuasive tactic to "work a crowd."

We are absolutely not to walk in the futility of darkened understanding, in hardness of heart. But I do at times. God is faithful to break me, then. To experience God's discipline means that we are His offspring. Paul tells us that our worldly mental constructs and machinations of thought are not what we were taught by God. "You did not learn Christ this way", Paul exclaims in exasperation, "if indeed you heard Him and were taught in Him."

I lay aside my corrupted, deceived old self to be renewed in the Spirit of my mind. We are to think, therefore, with the renewing mind. But having a renewing mind means we think about what?

Plainly spoken, we are to think the thoughts of God after Him. These are revealed by God the Spirit, according to our position we are placed within the Body. I take off the old suit, and put on the new garment, which is described by the Apostles' Teaching as "clothing ourselves with Christ." Sounds fancy and mystical, does it not?

Passionate Submission

In Christ we receive the annointing of His Spirit of Truth, whereby we know the word of God abides in us. We know this because God announced that ahead of time. Does the word of God teach us to contemplate and reason according to the flesh? But I do, at times; I know you do too. Our calling is to be taught by God, not by our fallen neighbors in this world.

We know there are elemental things which we can learn of by even the fallen humanity in this world. But we are called to be in the world, not of the world. Jesus did not come so that we could be happy pagans, enslaved by lusts, passions, pride and self-oriented egotism. No, we are told that Jesus has overcome the world by His coming as a Servant. We are told we are hidden in Him, by faith. If we only hope this is so, it is not enough. We know we have eternal life when we reason with our renewing minds. The renewed mind is faith and knowledge of God in action.

We are not the focus, either of God's love and salvation, nor of knowledge and function. This processing of information in terms of what this all means to "Me" is what we are to have put away with childish things. Such self-focus is not Godly reasoning, and Christ's mind does not agree with this manner of behavior. Instead, we are called into the community of the faithful saints alive here and in God's hands. We are called to be in unity with the Spirit of Truth, that we are the Bride of Christ, our Lord and Master, Jesus the Son of God.

Jesus' cousin John told his disciples: "He who has the bride is the bride-groom... He must increase, but I must decrease." This is the testimony of the one whom Jesus says "But I say to you, that Elijah has also come, and they did to Him whatever they wished..." He was the last of the Old Covenant prophets. He proclaimed Jesus was our Bride-groom. How is it then, that the Church acts like the husband in this relationship?

We know from Jesus' parents experience that betrothal meant they were man and wife so as, unlike today, if the betrothal was broken it entailed a writ of divorce. Remember, we are thinking with the renewed mind. Jesus Himself refers to being the Bridegroom.

In Genesis, we read that God tells Eve "... yet your urge will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Paul when writing of this mystery in reference to Christ and the church says, "Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the Head of the Church... as the church is subject to Christ... because we are members of His body... let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."

We of course find loving Jesus appealing, and so we must. However the church as always had trouble respecting Her husband.

BTW, WE are the CHURCH. We aren't just talking ancient history anymore.

Now, think about that. Selah!

Soli Deo Gloria

26 November 2010

Thinking with a Renewed Mind part 7

As did our great grandparents-squared (Adam and Eve), we too stand face to face with the question of "Did God really say?" (GEN3), or as in the Septuigint it reads "For why said God?"

If this question drives us to God's means of revelation then we have responded by faith. If we rely on our own understanding, we refute faith in our living God by considering ourselves as able judges of what is to be good and what is to be evil.

This is eating of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This is the basis upon which it is said we are stained by the Original Sin; by spiritual heritage on our own we are dead, in Christ we are made alive unto God so as to know God. To actually know God is eternal life, according to Jesus.

The quality of the renewing mind, only available through Christ, is to flee to God. It is hard to judge others by this criteria, hence our reluctance to embrace it.

The frustrates us, for we like to find our place in comparison to others. Try to compare to Jesus, if you need an ego adjustment. This trait is of our fallen nature which woos us from the place it was put upon the cross, calling us to breathe new life as if to do CPR on our rotten flesh.

We fall victim to this trait by appealing to ourself, and like-minded souls, due to a misplaced sense of adequacy. It is as if we disciples say to ourselves, "Christ is my sufficiency", but the emphasis is on "my sufficiency" rather than "Christ is". Such is the basis of the Lie.

When we develop the habit of relying on "My sufficiency", we are not walking in the light as He is in the light. Jesus' adequacy, if you recall, was founded on His knowledgable faith in the Father, and not in His consideration of His own knowledge of what to do or say based upon His being the Logos, the Son of God. He put that aside, and became one with the lowliest of humble creatures of our human race. Jesus calls us friends, and brethren.

Jesus says that he does not do anything on His own, but only what He sees and hears the Father doing and saying. Jesus was not relient upon His own good self even to do His mission. He humbled Himself and became as a mere servant. And this is His missional call to all His disciples to do the same.

If we shall not be satisfied to be like our Master, than we are outside God's expressed will. We now this because of the revelation of God in Jesus, the Bible, and the faithful proclamation in word and deed of His Body. To err is human, to forgive is divine; this is a doubtful perspective when we realize that Jesus was human and did not err. To be fully human, we must be new creations.

In the vacua of evil, we must judge others in order for our old nature to have a place to stand... upon the backs and minds of others. This sub-human (post-Fall) is a means of self-elevation which is recognized by the world's culture(s). It is plain we judge ourselves superior to those in the present and/or the past. We judge ourselves more grateful for blessings than others, more inventive, more creative, more sincere, and even more authentic and transparent.

We may think we are better read, better with tools; but this is the mask of the fool. It takes real gall to judge ourselves more humble than others, as if we have no pride.

Each one of us stands or falls before their own Master, Paul tells us in Romans. Who are you, he says, to judge the servant of another? These people do not serve us but Jesus! What we hold by faith is ours. Anything that does not procede from faith is Sin. We need confidence of the path upon which we walk by faith into maturity. We are on solid ground, and we experience that solidity by our belonging to God and our renewing mind.

It is important to have a level of confidence by which we determine we are being loved first, and we are loving in response; that we are knowing God and also that God knows us; that we are acting in response to others and God as well as being acted upon.

This assurance is ours only by being hid in Christ with all our brothers and sisters in the same faith; for truly we know from Abel forward the "just" only live by faith. No one is righteous, no not one. Our expanding awareness is in line, part and parcel, with the Scriptures. It is included with membership within the functioning Body.

That in part is what it means to think with the renewing mind.

Peace to all who live by the rule of the new creation, unto the Israel of God.

Thinking with a Renewed Mind part 5

Together in community, we find we are more than the sum of our congregations' human parts.

I have imagined it like a light panel. With one dim bulb there is illumination, but with multiple bulbs there is a bright array and fewer shadows. We are told love covers a multitude of sins. In deed we are exhorted to pray for one another, with the result being we may affect for one another God's reconciling grace; as long as the other has not committed a sin unto death. Paul says he is not saying we should pray to good result for those.

For those who follow obediently (meaning by faith, in love and knowledge of God), the adventure of abundant living awaits us. We are those servants Jesus speaks of who, while the Master is away, continue in our tasks as assigned, or in the manner which pleases Him (not the parable of the talents.

Others, upon entering into the community of faith, decide to rule it over others like the Gentiles do. Jesus told us not to do that, explicitly. By doing so, these individuals find themselves in a precarious position.

We must pray as instructed, forgiving these others but not allowing the damage to continue. We must be discerning and submissive to God in all discipline in conviction that we serve the Great God. We must not allow such folks and their dark deeds to go unaddressed.

Anyone who looses track of their submission to Jesus becomes unhealthy. No one is immune.

Remember, we are new creations with renewed minds. The things of this world are supposed to be put away... the childish egoes and everything un-Christlike.

We need to be working and praying for their reconciliation with Christ and then the rest of us.

No one can be an authority in the church unless they are recognized and empowered by God. This is not "majority-rules", nor is it power by might. We should not willingly be cooperating with their disobedience. We will be held culpable for allowing these folks to damage the children of God and others.

It matters not what a person claims, or convinces others about. There were false teachers and apostles in the first century just as there are today. In Jesus' letters to the seven churches, He is very plain about His opinion of these folks, their activities, and congregations who succumb to their wiles by lack of belief.

Being in the "know" increases our culpability in missing the mark, which is why the Spirit of God tells us that not many of us should consider ourselves teachers. Do not mistake these words as being ancient and not applicable. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

We like to divide sins into different unbiblical compartments. We also provide redefinitions of our sins so as to clear our own consciences before our eyes. Yet we cannot acquit ourselves in such fashion. Be careful what we are offended by, our own standards or God's.

So, with unveiled faces let us look to Christ. He tells us if we behold Him we see the Father. How do we see Him by faith? The picture we have of Jesus is found revealed in the Scriptures.

By tradition we have receive the bifurcated Scriptures, yet this is sorely misunderstood in several ways. By seeking revelation from God, expounded by faithful folks gifted and called especially, we can be corrected of many misperceptions.

Such is the result of active filling of the Spirit of Truth in us, in our humility and the promised renewing of our mind.

The Scripture is what we receive today in the finished canon, known as the Holy Bible. The Older Testament is not a lesser Scripture; it was the Scripture Jesus spoke of. Peter and others validate this just as Jesus does. Jesus says the whole of Scripture testifies of Him.

The challenge is to be properly discerning in our reading, hearing, and studying of the printed word of God. It is the written truth. It is one thing to misunderstand it ourselves, but to proclaim our misunderstanding as "Thus saith the Lord" is dangerous ground.

Just as our actions portray Jesus to each other and to the fallen world, our words do as well. We speak what we believe, so being careful in our thoughts and expressions is necessary. Let us believe so that we may understand.

This is counter to the patterns we find in the world. This is counter to a significant amount of what we embrace as "Modern Christian Knowledge." Often our awareness and means of processing the same is molded by our worldly culture around us, either positively or negatively. Note, all products of our worldly culture's proclamation and practive needs weighing by the discerning eye of a disciple and the Church.

There are mannerisms, habits, and styles of discourse which are acceptable in the world but should not find a home in our hearts or our gather together as the peopel of God.

May we seek the face of God and the mind of Christ in all things, in love and all humility. This is our devout duty and privilege.

Now, think about that! Selah
--your fellow suffering servant,
gralan

dsg