Baked ziti, as it relates to the body of Christ… and King’s X!

Baked ziti, as it relates to the body of Christ… and King’s X!

If you asked me a week ago what I thought about the baked ziti at the restaurant I work at I would not recommend it. I would say, “It’s bland, not very flavorful, and I think you would enjoy the baked rigatoni much more.” Now, I have been living the THM lifestyle for about 6 months and pasta is not on plan. The other night, our most generous chef let the employees have at the catering order that never got served. Now, I love hot food and the only dish that was hot was of course the baked ziti. I believe I must have been stressed or something and decided to eat ‘off plan’, even baked ziti??? That must have been a bad shift!

I eat the ziti and I must say that the flavors came alive! Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t ate pasta in so long? Maybe it was because it was free? Whatever it was, my tastes had changed. It made me think about my perspective on Christ. I’ve been seeing revelations in Christ that I did not see a year ago. This may be a paradigm change for me. Sometimes I believe something so fervently that when I explain it it sounds like… there is no other way to explain it. Can you relate with what I’m talking about? I’ve become more aware of this of late. Now, that I think about it. People have given me this feed back in the past.

Well, the next time I find myself becoming emphatic about a point I would I hope I remember baked ziti, take a step back, and know that the thing I believe with fervency today may not be the case a year from now and the people that don’t share my point of view are not idiots. Don’t get me wrong, we should whole-heartedly believe what we believe. It’s when we speak as if the way we believe is the only way to believe(dogma) that we start causing trouble.

This song by King’s X really brings it home for me. It is entitled “We Are Finding Who We Are.” The next line is “We can’t see forever.”I truly hope you give it a listen. Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEmbDWw_ukg

Here are some of the lyrics.

Forever is a mountain we’ve yet to climb

Tears are a part of what is yet to leave behind

Strength in numbers, all you need is two

Everyone’s a winner while still so many lose

We are finding who we are

We can’t see forever

We are finding who we are

We can’t see forever

The volume of emotion erupting in our souls

A quiet revelation, quickly takes a hold

Patience is a virtue, but she won’t always wait.

Descension is attention is what we learn to hate

But I believe!!!

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Why Lord? Part 2

A second possible answer to the question, ‘Why?’is to show us His healing power. Now there is healing of the body but when I say healing I am also referring to the healing of the mind and the spirit. Recently, our group had a season focused on healing. Right after this was announced one of the sisters was diagnosed with Leukemia – a cancer in the blood. How amazing is His timing?

We were all deeply saddened and burdened for this sister. She was almost immediately immersed in Chemo therapy treatments. Many of the saints in our group reached out and visited her, wrote her notes and encouraging words to put on her wall in the hospital. Her family ran to her aid and her faithful husband was by her side day and night.

Soon the battle for which arouse from the chemo treatments was being told. She would feel immense weight on her chest at times, be subject to mood swings, and have intense anxiety from medication. They extracted bone marrow from her on a regular basis which is from what I understand one of the most intense pains one can go through.

When she was strong enough she came to visit the group meeting. She said, ‘Y’all healed me.” She also said that within her relationships (with her father, her parent’s divorce, any marital issues) she felt COMPLETELY healed.

She told a story of one day when she was in the hospital. Just getting down the hall had used up all her strength. She looked up and saw the hallway lined with more angels than she could count singing for her! The pain was so overwhelming. She said, ‘Lord, I can’t go any further. I’m not strong enough.’ That’s when the Lord spoke to her and said, ‘You are right. You are not strong enough, but I am in you and I am strong enough.” She continued to talk about how good the Lord was to her…

When she was done speaking the room was speechless for a minute. I tried to find the words… It was probably the greatest testimony I have ever heard about God’s heart for his people during struggle, pain, and afflictions.

For me, it solidified God’s desire is to set us free, heal us, and restore us in Him amidst our suffering, loss, and pain. What the Devil meant for evil, God turned for good.

Why Lord? Part 1

My parents told me that when I was a kid I was always asking the question ‘why?’ As many of you have found we often don’t get to have the answer to this question. His ways are higher than our ways. He allows us to go through things that are terrible, painful, and heartbreaking. The miracle is that when we look for Him in the storm, we can walk on water.

I recently have seen a couple of answers for this question why. The first is to put Gods workmanship on display. Recently, I have seen two friends of mine put in an acutely trying situations. In the first case, an infant girl suffered a series of strokes, became unable to move, and was hospitalized. Through out this storm I have seen this little girls father be a minister to those who came to visit them, including myself, be a heroic man of faith, and keep an outstanding sense of composure through out the situation.

It is impossible to quantify the spiritual complexity of the situation from one point of view but I can tell you this: There has been a great out pouring of the life of Christ that was in this saint to the body of Christ since this incident occurred. It has not only brought courage and strength, but increase of the knowledge of where we stand in Christ in this war in the Heavenlys. It has caused his agnostic sister to pray for his daughter which would have been laughable just before this occurred.

Please don’t read this and compare your last battle with the Devil to this one. Instead, be encouraged. I think the only thing this saint did was keep his eyes on Jesus in this trial and keep the faith that the Lord was working this situation out for the good. With this stand, God was able to put himself on display in him and work out the situation for the good of us all. It is like the Apostle Paul said, “When I am weak, He is strong.”

There are two ways to look at this.

When we are faced with the grimmest of circumstances and our lives are seemingly  hanging by a tread we can explain things in two ways. 

The first way is to place blame on someone as to why this happened. We start a process of self-evaluation to see where we went wrong and place blame on our bad choices, others choices, or we can believe we have been reasonably responsible and struggle with our Creator for not changing our circumstance.

The second way to look at this is to give God the benefit of the doubt and believe He is allowing this to happen for our good, the good of others, and His good. I can tell you I’ve found that any other explanation than this results in a death to our day, week, month, year, or however long we believe any other explanation. 

It is real life Roman’s 8:28- ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ 

If you are like me you may ask yourself. Do I love him enough? Have I been called according to his purpose? Basically, what have I done for Him lately? If I haven’t done enough, then maybe this verse does not apply to me. Then Christians come to mind that are much better than I(in my fleshly eyes) and I can feel disqualify. “I don’t have a ministry like so and so.” etc. That was before I knew the truth. 

I am about to share with you the mystery of the ages. I pray you receive this blessed truth. 

When Jesus prayed just before his death he said, “Lord I pray that they may be in me just as I am in you… and that we may be one.” – John 17 Beloved, God the Father has answered this prayer! Ephesians chapter one says he chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in him. In love he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, having been predestined according to His purpose, to the praise of his glory and grace, which He freely bestowed on us. 

There is no earning his favor! Salvation is a free gift! We receive it from Christ Jesus! We are in Christ and He is in us! Really, read the first chapter in Ephesians again, and let the reality sink in. It is the good news! 

 

Expectations

Have you ever fell short of your expectations for yourself? 

I know for me the answer is yes. I also believe I have fell short of the reasonable expectation other people had for me. At this point you really just want to through yourself in the trash, however, that would be a very uncomfortable place to wake up, or sleep for that matter. 

Here are couple of ways to look at this: 

1) With our natural eyes.  

It is a dire circumstance at best, a situation which is still unresolved, still undone, still at hand. The rub, if you will, still exists. This is the reality we can see. 

2) With our spiritual eyes

Christ is the lamb. Only His sacrifice will do. There is no other way to be approved by God. Now, there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. This is the reality we can’t see.

In short, we can see ourselves through the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil(If you are not familiar with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil please see the end of my post ‘He Is Life’)

OR 

We can thank God for Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, see ourselves in the spirit, and not judge ourselves. 

Please bare with me here. Can I ask you another question?

Has God ever fell short of your expectations for Him?

To be honest, my answer at times has been yes. I think I had to get real and just say,”You know what, I’m not happy with this plan that you have for me.” That being said, I’m sure my trials seem trivial compared to someone who has lost a loved one. We all go through trials in life, things we don’t understand, heartache and loss. 

What should we say of God when he doesn’t show up when we think he should?

Beloved, can I share a perspective with you I believe will help mold the conversation and bring insight? 

God loves us so extravagantly that He does not see us in the natural realm. He sees us in the spiritual realm. We can choose to see Him:

       1) With our natural eyes

Why hasn’t he done anything about my situation? He obviously doesn’t care. He says he loves me but if feels more like he wants to torment me. I must have some really bad juju to deserve this. I’m screwed! 

         2) With our spiritual eyes

What if I extend the same love and mercy back to Him that He has shown me and not make judgements about Him because He does not meet my expectations in the natural realm?(I don’t even meet my own expectations) Like the scriptures say, “We love because he first loved us.” John 4:19. More on His love to come in my next post.

This is by no means a complete revelation but a glimpse of the Lords heart I believe is part of knowing His peace when we find ourselves in a trying circumstance.

God Bless You

 

He Is Life

Justifying ourselves before God is really an act of self-righteousness. It comes from eating of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and is a line of thinking which leads to death. Blessed ones, let’s not kill ourselves.

Evaluating our own successes and failures in this instance comes from an attempt to justify ourselves. We want to believe ourselves worthy of His blessing or unworthy of His curse.

The reality is, we, in ourselves, are not worthy in any way to be justified before Him. Jesus Christ IS our justification, our righteousness, our hope!

He is the Lamb. He is the offering. Only His righteousness will do. Only His sacrifice will suffice!

Jesus said the only work we need to offer to God is to believe in the one whom He has sent, His Son. Once we understand this we are free to eat from the Tree of Life.

Let me briefly explain how the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil relate to these statements above if you are unfamiliar with them.

In order to justify ourselves we have to know the law; the difference between good and evil. This knowledge comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

God told Adam and Eve not to eat from this tree or they would surely die. When we eat of this tree the fruit brings forth death. In other words, when we are caught up in evaluating ourselves or others on the basis of right and wrong, the result is death rather than life.

There was another tree in the Garden of Eden mentioned in the Bible – The Tree of Life. When we eat from this tree we receive eternal life. Let’s dwell here… Where else in the Bible do we hear a similar statement? Jesus said I am the Bread of Life. Whoever believes in me has eternal life.

The Tree of Life is the life of Christ. Once we eat of it, we have His life; the only true life which comes from the Son of God. Life begets life. Death begets death. May we eat of Him more fully and freely and truly live.