The God Version

John 14: 20

On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you.

This is the great miracle, that Jesus lives in us. It is really quite amazing if you stop to think about it. Jesus brought a whole new way of thinking about our relationship with deity. He is the present God, God with us. And yet . . . we often think about God being off in heaven somewhere. We have this nebulous idea of God apart from us. God with us is, truthfully, God in us and that is a defining thought.

Who are you? Doesn’t that question take on new richness when you consider God in you? Wait, let me ask you this question, who is God? Now, get ready for a startling answer.

There is an amalgamation of you with God once you let God intertwine Himself in the fabric of your life, thoughts and dreams. No longer are you the simple you. You have become God with you. This is so important!

I told you this little story once. It’s about the day I rode my mountain bike through a lovely pine forest. The smell of pine was invigorating, the sound of pine needles crunching beneath my tires, mesmerizing. Above all, though, was the absolute beauty of that forest. It truly was remarkable so, I remarked to God about the loveliness of the entire scene. I, at once, felt silly for telling Him about this beautiful landscape as if He had never seen it before. He, after all, did make it. His response was startling though. He said, “Ivey, I’ve never seen it through your eyes before.” Wow! You see, in that limited way, He had never seen it before.

We are complex organisms. Our perceptions are colored by all the experiences of our lives. Even our thoughts are unique. That is why it is beneficial to have different folks in any planning committee. We see things differently, perceive things differently and will come with different thoughts. It always fascinates me how it isn’t a mere function of intelligence but also of all the tastes, flavors and experiences of life. People come up with ideas I would have never dreamed up even given hours, days and years of cognitive effort. All of this is going somewhere, and it is circling back around to God in you.

When you honor the intertwined you and give place to God to speak into your heart and thoughts, you become a God engine yourself. Your thoughts can be God inspired. The pictures in your mind go beyond what you would have imagined on your own. Here is a key bit. God can speak into you in ways that I may never be able to hear. He can paint on the canvas of your imagination in colors and shapes that others don’t see. Therefore, the thoughts you have, the truth you are able to share may be slightly nuanced from what someone else has perceived. That’s great! It’s not bad at all. When we combine our revelations, we see a much more complex and wonderful tapestry. How marvelous!

For this reason, I wish to encourage you. You should honor your thoughts as unique. The synergy that we should all seek is oneness with our Lord and Father. In that synergistic union, He will speak through your filters. He will see through your eyes. Had you been on that bike ride with me, you may have seen something different from what I saw. Maybe you would have noticed the crispness of the air or the way the light streamed through the pines. If your perception was different from mine, and it is almost a surety that it would have been, that does not make it wrong, or right. It is purely a celebration of God in you while my perception is an observation on God in me.

This Word of the Day is meant to encourage you to honor your thoughts, hopes, dreams and ambitions. Your thoughts are valuable when you are intertwined with the Holy One. God thoughts are light and life, but I want you to understand that none of us has a patent on those inspired thoughts. This is why God has more than one minister of His gospel. We each teach according to the light He has inspired within us. You too can have God thoughts.

Look for God, but don’t look to the sky. Look within. Let Him touch your thoughts. Your Father has much to show you and tell you. In your quiet time with Him, He will lead and inspire you. Be still and listen to that voice with you. God is speaking to you!

I am Perfect

Matthew 5: 48

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I bet you have heard or read this verse before. What does it mean to you? Do you know who said it? These are words from Jesus? So here is the question we must first deal with. Did he mean that we are to be perfect now, here on earth, or is this mandate reserved for heaven?

A lot of folks will argue that this only pertains to our life in heaven. I would argue that makes no sense. First of all, Jesus was not preaching to a group of heavenly residents. He was preaching to a worldly group. Second, what would be the point of preaching this message here on the earth if he meant for it to apply in heaven. Further, why wouldn’t he say, “Someday, when you have ascended to heaven who will have to work on being perfect because your Father in heaven is perfect.” He had the opportunity to clarify himself if he meant to describe heaven. Also, look at the context of all the words around this sentence. This is taken from the Sermon on the Mount. Would you argue that the Sermon on the Mount is about life in heaven? Of course not. Therefore, we must take this verse exactly how Jesus meant it and deal with it, but this is what we often do with difficult passages. We find ways to explain them away.

I tell you that you have the ability to be perfect now. It is a choice but here is the secret, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing,” (John 15: 5). Jesus is perfect. Wouldn’t you agree? So, as long as we are in him, operating through him, obeying him, we too can be perfect. Of ourselves, yes, we have no hope. These are more than words though. There is a big difference in Christians who try hard and those who have given themselves completely over to Christ. This latter group seeks to hear Christ in every step of their day and they hearken unto the Holy Spirit. It isn’t a Sunday prayer. It is a daily pursuit. It is a devotion and dedication which is realized in every waking moment. And when any of us allows ourselves, truly, to be led by the Spirit of God and allows our lives to be hidden in Christ, then there is perfection, in him. In those moments of clarity, we are without blemish, just as he is.

Our goal, then, is not in seeking perfection but in seeking the perfect one. There is a calling to all Christians to abide in him 100 percent just as he lived in perfect union with the Father. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you,” (John 14: 20). This life in Christ is Jesus’ wish for us but it does not come from a once uttered salvation prayer. You cannot even get it by going to church for twenty years, never missing a Sunday. As Jesus spoke these words to his disciples, he was pointing them to the deeper life. He was showing them that though they were about to be parted from him in the flesh, they could live integrated with him, the Father and the Holy Spirit. He told them the Holy Spirit was come and would lead them into all truth. Jesus is the way, he told us that, but the Spirit is like those guys on street corners holding the big signs directing shoppers to sales. The Spirit is the one who leads us and teaches us. He will teach you to live completely immersed in the Father and Son when you seek Him.

This is today’s Christianity. We are in the days when going to church even a couple of times a week isn’t enough. We need to bury our lives in Christ. Each breath is delivered by God’s Spirit. Jesus is calling us to be perfect by living completely in him. You can do it. You can be perfect, and I tell you that you are perfect because the perfect one lives in you and you in him. We have to stay in him though and that is our challenge.

Think about what you think it means to truly be in Christ. Remove all the religion for a moment and strip it down to the basics. What does it mean to be “in Christ” and how do accomplish it? I can tell you this, it has a whole lot less to do with what we do and a lot more of what we allow him to do in us. I say to you that this is the key to end time faith. This is the sweet spot and our hiding place. We need to know what it means and how to get there. Be perfect because Jesus told you to. Be in the perfect one.

Help, I’m Dying

Romans 6: 4, 6

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him.

I wish to share with you today about healing. Now I realize that the verse I chose in order to discuss health and healing looks more like a discourse on dying. Ultimately that reflects the point I wish to make though. Healing is in death. If you want to walk in all of the enormous benefits of Jesus’ triumph, including perfect health, then you must die.

Galatians 2: 20 reads, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. This is generically spoken of as dying to self. We are to crucify ourselves, our flesh or worldly selves, and take on the life of Christ, joining with him in holy union so that he lives through us and we live in and through him. Ephesians 4: 22 and 24 give us an even more clear understanding: “In reference to you former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 

Our old self was crucified with Christ and buried with him but we tend to continue wearing grave clothes instead of donning the robes of righteousness given to us by Christ Jesus. The renewed life is in doing as Paul teaches us in these passages; take off the old self and bury the carcass. Then put on Jesus in his fullness and glory. Jesus told us that in the new age, the age in which we are living, that he would live in us, he is the glory and righteousness within us. “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14: 20). This is the great revelation and triumph of the New Covenant. The Messiah has come, Emmanuel – God with us.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you” (Romans 8: 11). You see, it is God within us which is health and healing to our bodies. The healing power of God is alive in us right now. We just need to live to that truth instead of living in the world and its decay. We shuck off the old self, don the new life in Christ and ask Jesus to fill every cell of our bodies.

If we are inviting Jesus and the Holy Spirit to indwell us then ask them to fill you to overflowing. I am reminded of the freshmen physics course where the professor fills a beaker with rocks and asks the students if it can hold any more. When they answer in the negative he pours in small gravel bits. Oh my, now is it full, can it hold any more? “No,” they proclaim. So the professor trickles in sand. “Okay, how about now?” “Certainly not!” From below the desk top the professor produces a beaker of water and begins to add water to the first beaker.” 

So, I would ask you, “Is the beaker now full?” I suggest that it is not. If the Holy Spirit was the water we could analyze that, as with each medium, the Holy Spirit is filling the negative space or the empty space. I posit, though, that after the water is added to the beaker that there is still room for the Holy Spirit to fit in that beaker. He goes in and fills the molecules and the space between the molecules and he fills the atoms and so on down to the smallest atomic particle. That is the vision I wish to share with you for your body. As you cast off your old self and put on the new self, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you down to the smallest atomic particle. Ask him to saturate every cell of your body with his presence. 

Every day see your old self dead and buried and envision your new life in Christ filled with all that he is. Let your life in Christ permeate you. In death is resurrection. In death is life. I know it is paradoxical but you can handle the paradox because you have the mind of Christ. When you die to self you can live to Christ and when Christ is your life then all of the power of the universe is not only with you but within you. You only have to die.