What are you Saying?

Romans 4: 17        God’s Word

Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist.

This is a good time to teach about Abraham. We will visit him next week as well. Today’s verse continues the thoughts of yesterday’s Word of the Day. And so, here is the question, “What are you saying?”

I love this version of the Bible and its rendition of this verse. Abraham is called the Father of faith because he believed even when the promise of God seemed ludicrous. One of the things that made it a bit easier to believe is that he stood in the presence of God. I find that the more time I spend in God’s presence, the easier it is for me to believe too. So, now I am thinking, “I just need to spend more time in God’s presence.” It’s true. When I slow myself down and mediate in him, my ability to hear Him is improved and understanding and faith increase. The hard part, at least for me, is in quieting everything about me: my physiology as well as psychology. Mind and body can be unruly partners, but I have decided that I am lord over my body and my mind, and they will behave. Further, the more I submit them to Jesus’ lordship, the more peace I enjoy physically and mentally. That’s phase one, getting quiet in God’s presence.

The next thing I need to model about God and Abraham is “calling those things.” What is this? Abraham took his cue from our Father. We not only model Abraham, but we can see what he learned from the Father. Therefore, we have two very good role models. What we see when we observe them is that they said what they wanted before the thing even existed. They actually called those things which were not into existence. This is where it gets sticky for some people, but it needn’t.

Some people say, “Well, I can’t call myself healed when I am sick. That isn’t true.” Here’s the thing, when you shift your gaze you find it is true. I wrote a piece about shifting the frame just a little. It is amazing what you will see when you move the frame. Make a frame with your hands and then narrow your focus to only that which is inside the frame. What do you see? Now shift the frame. What do you see now? If you’ve played the game with me, you will find a totally different picture within the frame. Now, here is the question, “Which one represents truth?”

Here’s another way to play this game. Do you have something you can use as a frame and fix it in place? If not, you have to do this with your brain. Fix the frame either literally or figuratively and take a picture of what you see with your internal eye. Now remember that picture. Do not move the frame, move yourself. Move your body. Now what do you see? Again, if you played along, the picture has changed although the subject neither moved nor changed. You changed your perspective. You changed your vantage point. Now, again, which picture represents the truth? Of course, truth has not actually changed, only our perspective and perception changed. This is the greater reality. This is (T)ruth with a capital T.

Abraham was able to call himself the father of a multitude because he had a new perspective. It was one of faith and belief. He could close his eyes and see this truth. It is the most natural thing in the world to say what you see. We do that all day long. We assume that which we perceive with the natural eye is “true” although we know it’s not always so. Why, then, is it so challenging for us to believe that what we see with the eyes of our spirit is truth? In this, we have identified the real work of faith that Jesus spoke of. This is the “work” that he wants us to do. Once we see his truth, it becomes an easy thing to speak that reality.

One last thing before I let you go, and it is another question. Speaking both literally and figuratively, who is in control of the placement of the frame and the perspective of viewing? Who is the director of this film? If you answered Jesus, you are half right. Hopefully you also recognize that ultimately you are the director of the film. You have to set up the camera and shout “action.” Then you sit back while Jesus rolls out a movie for you. If you will keep your camera focused on him, he will show you are version of reality that you can sink your heart into and speak with confidence.

This leads back to the beginning. What are you saying? We must listen to what comes out of our mouths and police it, if need be. That isn’t all though. Phase two might be tuning our eyes and spirits to Jesus’ version of truth but ultimately we must transition to phase three which is intentionally calling those things into existence which do not currently exist in the natural realm. That is the point we want to get to. That is the meaning of this verse, but sometimes you have to fix your believer first. This is exactly, how your Father created the earth. He called things which didn’t exist into existence. Was he not speaking truth? He was speaking the truth He saw in His spirit and it had to come into existence. That is your charge. See what Jesus wants to show you and then speak it out in confidence. See your protective shield, see your healing. Say what Jesus says about you. Amen?

Move the camera

Hebrews 10: 2

Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

This is a discussion about sin consciousness versus righteousness consciousness. The author of Hebrews contrasts the sacrifices of old with the sacrifice of Jesus. The Old Testament sacrifices were not able to completely erase the sin stain which is why sacrifices had to be made every year. The sacrifice of the perfect, unblemished lamb, however, has once and for all, cleansed the saints, completely removing even the smell of former sin. This author writes that we have been made perfect by the sacrifice Jesus made, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10: 14). That is you. You are the one who has been cleansed, sanctified and perfected. Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, even the memory of our sin has been blotted from God’s memory. If we are cleansed, then, we should “no longer have . . . consciousness of sins.” But we do, don’t we.

Here is where the idea of moving the camera comes into play. Imagine yourself as a major Hollywood director. The actors are on the set, all is in readiness and you tell the camera operator to begin filming the scene. At the end of the scene you realize that the placement of the camera tells a different story than the one you intended to convey so you shift the camera just a little and eureka, an entirely different tableau is revealed. This is what we have to do with sin, forgiveness and our consciousness of each.

If we have the camera positioned on ourselves all of the time, our failures, sins, short-comings and brokenness are going to play like a melodrama if not a horror story. However, we can move the camera. So take your camera and shift it until Jesus is in the frame. What do you see now? What kind of movie will that camera shift make? It should be an adventure movie of heroic proportions where the hero saves the day and saves the lives of every person. It is Superman on steroids. Our hero saves us and even blots out the thoughts of the calamity which loomed so heavily before us. The difference in watching a film where we are poor sinners and one where we are saved is all in moving the camera just a tic. We change so that the lens is no longer focused on us but rather on Jesus and that makes all the difference in the world.

I find this teeter-totter between sin consciousness and righteousness consciousness to be a bit like the old glass half empty/half full proverb. Half empty people are focusing on themselves and what they see would frighten anyone. Glass half full people have abandoned their close-up for a shot of Jesus. When we focus on him and what he has done, it becomes ludicrous if not insulting for us to talk about our sins or even remember them. We have all failed. That is a fact. But the bigger and controlling fact is that Jesus took away all of our failures and laid them at the foot of the cross. Unless you are so important that your sin is bigger and more important than Jesus, then you have permission today to be completely free from every sin your ever committed. You have been cleansed. If Jesus cleansed you, why do you keep looking at yourself as dirty?

It’s all about him and what he has done. You have never done anything big enough to eclipse his victory. You have been sanctified and perfected by Christ so your thoughts should no longer be about YOUR sin, but rather about HIS righteousness. You should embrace righteousness consciousness and leave sin consciousness behind. It is an affront to the blood of Christ. All you have to do is to move your camera just a bit. Put Jesus in the frame and he will put you in his glory.