Monday, June 15, 2009

I have a new friend! We'll call him M, and he works at a coffee shop near my house. We have had a couple conversations, but the most notable was after my time at Garden of the Gods (see below). Our conversation was clearly God ordained, as he wasn't even supposed to be working at the time. We talked for a good hour and a half about a wide variety of spiritual things. M grew up in an at least nominally Christian household where his father was a preacher (even though he was abusive). M is very well learned in the Scriptures and has many memorized. He did the whole "Christian" thing most of his life; obeying his parents, trying to live a holy life and just do the right thing. In the process, he was utterly miserable. He has come to the conclusion that at the very least, God is not good, if He even exists at all. I can't keep the tears from my eyes even as I write this. I can't imagine living life without my good and gracious God who forgives without question and loves me for who I am. But that isn't how M sees it. Instead, he say he is the happiest he has ever been living for what he desires. Oh, how it breaks my heart, and how I plead with God to break M's too. I can just imagine the grief my Jesus must be feeling as He longs to draw M close in His arms and give him the unsurpassing fulfilment and joy that is not fleeting as the happiness of this world is. M did say, however, that he is not closed to conversations about God, and if his heart ever changed, he would go back in an instant. However, he is committed to following what his heart tells him, which right now is saying anything but God. Please, won't you pray with me that God will change his heart? And pray for me to, for boldness with grace, and courage with compassion.

On Wednesday I went out all by myself to Garden of the Gods and found a nook in a cleft of a rock (yes, that song was going through my head the entire time!) to read, think, and pray. After 4 long years of craziness, the peace and quiet was almost frightening. With my personality, I tend to just go, go, go until I have everything accomplished. I'm very goal driven, which can be a good thing, but must have balance as well. The past couple of weeks have been wonderful to rest, but they have also been a time of reflection about who I am, and who I desire to be. During my time at Garden of the Gods, I was reading The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. Included in that book is a list he has complied of verses telling who I am in Christ. One of his greatest points in the book is that you will act according to how you think of yourself. ex: If I thought of myself as a concert pianist, I would practice hours everyday. If I think of myself as just a sinner saved by grace, that is how I will act: as a sinner. If instead I think of myself as God sees me: sanctified and holy before Christ, that is how I will behave. It's a very powerful thought. I have so often thought of myself as entrapped by my own sinful behaviors and have failed to claim the victory Christ has already won for me. I know it's a long list, but I think it's very worthwhile to post it here. Please take the time to read through it out loud as well and take comfort and joy in who you are in Christ.

I am not the great "I am" (Ex 3:14; Jn 8:24; 28; 58), but by the grace of God, I am what I am (1 Cor 15:10)
I am the salt of the earth ( Mt 5:13)
I am the light of the world (Mt 5:14)
I am a child of God (Jn 1:12)
I am part of the true vine, a channel of Christ's life (Jn 15:1,5)
I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit (Jn 15:16)
I am a slave of righteousness (Rom 6:18)
I am enslaved to God (Rom 6:22)
I am a son of God; God is spiritually my Father (Rom 8:14, 15; Gal 3:26; 4:6)
I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Rom 8:17)
I am a temple--a dwelling place--of God. His Spirit and His life dwell in me (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19)
I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with Him (1 Cor 6:17)
I am a member of Christ's body (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 5:30)
I am a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation (2 Cor5:18, 19)
I am a son of God and one in Christ (Gal 3:26, 28)
I am an heir of God since I am a son of God ( Gal 4:6, 7)
I am a saint (Eph 1:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Phil 1:1; Col 1:2)
I am God's workmanship--His handiwork--born anew in Christ to do His work (Eph 2:10)
I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family (Eph 2:19)
I am a prisoner of Christ (Eph 3:1; 4:1)
I am righteous and holy (Eph 4:24)
I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now (Phil 3:20; Eph 2:6)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3)
I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life (Col 3:4)
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col 3:12; 1 Thes1:4)
I am a son of light and not of darkness (1 Thes 5:5)
I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1)
I am a partaker of Christ; I share in His life (Heb 3:14)
I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1Pet 2:5)
I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God's own possession (1Pet 2:9, 10)
I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live (1Pet 2:11)
I am an enemy of the devil (1Pet 5:8)
I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns (1Jn 3:1,2)
I am born of God, and the evil one--the devil-- cannot touch me (1Jn 5:18)
-compiled by Neil Anderson, The Bondage Breaker