Category Archives: Rights

I Believe I Know

My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  Psalm 131:1-2

What a most perfect place to be . . . the stillness of my soul in the bosom of God — Author and Finisher — Grace and Truth.  It is the essence of peace and contentment, where nothing can substitute satisfied longings and needs of the soul.  But then again, if only I believed enough to trust in depth the truth of His grace on me.  How this must sadden His heart.

Yeah, we’ve all seen it a time or two.  The little child who finished his last Cheerio and wants more!  The puppy that hasn’t quite had enough belly rubbing!  Or, the teenager who got a car for his birthday, but it wasn’t the one he wanted.  We can be so needy can’t we?  Never satisfied . . . never content.  Yet, Christ has called us to “rest” in Him.

There are so many things I think I need, things I must do now or changes I need to make in order for other things to happen.  Are they really that urgent?  I believe I know exactly what I need and I forget to ask, look or consider that you are actually still very much in control of my life and all that it entails.  The outcome of all I do is prescribed through you!  You are still, very much, on the throne and you love me and want only the best for me.  Why must I consider to put me first?

Lord Jesus, I long in my heart every moment of drawing closer to resting in your Spirit and living in content of all you give.  I want nothing more than to no longer beg in my heart or whimper from my spirit for those things I believe I know I need.  Instead, I choose to trust in you in all things for you are good!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8

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Filed under Christian Living, Faith, Grace, In Christ, Peace, Pride, Rights, Trust, Truth

Getting Wronged By Rights

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'”   Luke 15:31-32

Pride is a wonderful thing, don’t you think?  Not the kind of pride that comes through accomplishments or belief in another, but the kind that is filled with self-righteous arrogance and the lack of understanding who God is and the fact that you’re not Him.  No, not so wonderful . . . it inflates the flesh!

Do you think Adam or Eve dealt with pride?  We don’t read much in the way of life after the fall but for little snippets that shed a little light upon the groans of a broken world.   I would suspect that there was some pride during the time when Adam and Eve were banished from the garden.  The emotions, the attitudes, the lack of fellowship with God had to have been filled with moments of absolute grief and loss.  The only place they had ever known was the Garden of Eden and despite all that was made for their pleasure, none was truly theirs anymore.  Suddenly, the first family was without the amenities of sin-free existence.

I can only imagine a few conversations about how they couldn’t be treated like this . . . or how they shouldn’t be treated like this.  How too, I suspect, they both questioned why they were designed, created and given life.  After all, the serpent convinced them that they knew better than God — that their plan far outweighed God’s plan.  They were wronged by rights.

The sense of entitlement that both Adam and Eve likely felt is not unlike the rights we feel we have when something we think belongs to us is taken away.  Much like Adam and Eve, when we take our eyes off the Designer and focus on the measure of me and what I am going to gain, we immediately lose sight of the promises that come through the union of Grace and Truth.

One of my favorite authors, Bill Gillham, writes about it so well in his book Lifetime Guarantee.

Stop fighting it, brother.  Give up all your “rights”–all talents, all abilities, all gifts, all the things you’ve clung to to get your need met for self-acceptance.  You’ll love the results!  You will find “life” through allowing Him to express Himself through your talents, your abilities, your fights, and your personality to a hurting world to do His will.  That’s the way Jesus walked.  He let the Father do it through Him.  (p. 201)

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that I don’t have to think that what I feel is rightfully mine is being squandered.  But instead, I can know that what I have is everything because you live within me!

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Passive Attentive

Dear Lord Jesus, I can think of many things in my life, both past and present, that by definition fall into the category:  destructive.  Whether it be patterns of negative behavior or attitudes from the flesh, I know I have what it takes to single-handedly make a mess of everything.  This is no surprise to you.  I’m so thankful you are a God of restoration!

However, the sealing off of negative thoughts and inconclusive moments in my world have been conduits of passive aggressive behavior in my relationships.  You have spoken to me this morning as clear as the sun is shining and answered my prayer.

Awareness of your presence and the familiar tone of your voice are but refreshments to my weary mind and aching heart.  I am guilty of being passive attentive to your Spirit within me and when I neglect to listen, my doer listens to other things.  I hurt, others hurt, I no longer trust, others cannot trust — it’s not your plan.

I know I need to listen to you in all things, becoming actively attentive to your Spirit within.  Remind me of the power I have in you!  In your precious and Holy name, Jesus Christ, Amen!

We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  I John 4:19-20

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Imperfect Is Perfect

. . . to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.   Galatians 4:5

Another notch on the door frame. Below it is where I was, this notch is where I am today.  But above me is a notch to which I desperately stretch to reach.  I just want to be like _______ (fill in the blank).  Good as them, tall as them, better than them.  How will I possibly measure up?  Will I ever meet expectations, standards, worth . . .  will I ever be good enough?

These questions and more have followed me all of my life.  Not bad questions at all, but ones, nonetheless, that cause my image to take on a disfigured shape depending on the point of personal reference in the who or what that matters most.  Against whom do I measure my worth?  Against what do I place my value and significance?  To whom do I think that I use as a filter in making decisions?  I can think of any number of people or things I’ve measured myself against.

Why is this?  Well, my futile attempts to be perfect, not fail, get props and the pat on the back have carved within my flesh a dependence on earthly acceptance and approval.  Beneath the scars from wounded attempts of measuring up lies the pain and guarded heart that harbors the memory of hurt.  And so long as I look around me for the answers to my questions that pertain to my life, my value and my worth, I will forever be searching a lost cause.

And this, praise the Lord, is not the way He taught!   Instead, my imperfections are perfect to Him so long as I keep my eyes on the One who came “under the law . . . to redeem those under the law” so that I may receive ALL, the FULL rights of, sonship!  In other words, I belong to the King . . . the Creator of all things, including me!!  Measuring up is no longer necessary, because in my imperfection I am adopted — given the fullness of belonging — and with that status, I am fully accepted!

And due to this relationship, I can call on my Dad (Abba, Father), and rest in His peace!

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.   Proverbs 14:30

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Holy Dark

But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.  Romans 8:24-25

My sweet niece was getting ready for school this morning in the room next to mine when I overheard her conversation with her mom.  Quite frankly, being in the next room over was no privilege since her 5 year old demands were being made at the top of her lungs.  I burst out into a sudden, unexpected and uncontrolled laugh and I quickly tried to douse my reaction.  But, according to her, she was going to have pigtails this morning — no I mean – she was GOING TO HAVE PIGTAILS!!  There were no options, no waiting, no “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it.  She clearly did not wake on the patience side of the bed.

I’ve reflected on this moment all morning.  I’ve thought how not so very different I am with God and my circumstances.  I chart a way to get through the rough terrain of life and declare what I need, when I need it with no waiting expected.  When we’re five years old, we thought we were the boss of everything.  Funny how some things just never change.  But, truth is, I know the Boss — and I’m not him!  And so I wait.

I wait with anticipation, expectation and birth of a transformation unlike anything I’ve ever known.  In Romans 8 it speaks of all creation waiting with eager expectation of God’s glory and similarly, I wait for my wings.  But until then, something is happening.

As I wait in this holy darkness it almost feels like God is absent.  Everything I’ve known of Him seems nowhere near.  It’s quiet, it’s blindingly dark, it’s disorienting, it’s Mysterious.  I search for the “lights” that I have become so accustomed to leading me and in this holy darkness those lights are not allowed.  It’s a liquifying of the knowledge and reliance of my “creation” and the experience of the crumbling of who God is and the system that makes it work for me and my ego.

This place of darkness is not an evil place — it’s that place an inch beneath the soil where the seed waits to become all that God has designed it to be.  It’s that place in a mother’s womb where life begins and is nurtured.  It’s that place where God wanders and wonders and where His fingertips run along the seams of my heart.  It’s that place, in the darkness of the tomb where God transformed!

For me it has been as though I’ve been walking with Him in this dense forest.  It’s become so dense the light of the sun has been kept from the forest floor.  What once was day has turned to an eery darkness.  I want to panic, I want to run, but I have no idea where I am.  I feel lost among the trees, but lost I am not.  This darkness is part of God’s journey.  It’s not even a detour, nor is it a wrong turn.  It’s The Way and I’m on it!  Hallelujah!  There is no way I’ll find my way back alone and everything that I’ve ever trusted and leaned against is nowhere in this holy dark.

So, I let go and turn to the Boss to lead The Way.  If I can only trust Him and truly let go all glory will be revealed.  Too often I panic like many do when they find themselves in the pitch of darkness.  I need to understand the need to surrender and journey through and make my way to the real light ahead.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.    Romans 8:18-21

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Filed under Belief, Faith, Hope, In Christ, Pride, Rights, Surrender, Trust

Hand It Over

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32

Oh boy — how much do I find myself resisting?  Resisting the call of my passion and love for my Lord into a passive perseverance of waiting.  But my nature, my natural fleshly default, resists this subtle, yet most present, change.  And I hear Him saying . . . “Hand it over.”

God has done such a great job (not that I need to give Him props for this) making our children the teachers of this world, but they hand out life lessons everyday.  Without exception, when there’s more than one present, there will always be a moment of conflict between them.  On countless occasions I will stumble upon one of these moments of discord.  Most of the time it sounds the same despite the circumstances . . . something like this . . . . “give it to me! give it to me! GIVE IT TO ME!!”  Sound familiar?

There’s something that takes place here that I find rather intriguing when compared with the heart of man.  God is all the while asking us to surrender ourselves to Him.  In so many words He is asking us to give ourselves to Him, to hand ourselves over to Him.  Why is this so hard to do?  Well, the children’s life lessons strike again!  Because we want what we have, it’s mine and to give it up would mean I’d have to change, play with something new and different . . . or worse, wait!

It’s what happens at the moment I hand myself over that the spiritual miracle of my heart begins a radical change.  At this moment of true surrender, life-changing transformation — the liquifying of the soul — begins and the DNA of Christ in me begins to take shape.  Like God Himself who handed over His own Son for us and as Judas “handed over” Christ to the chief priests, I am called to “hand myself over” to Him.  And as I do, I enter a period of waiting and discover God’s deeper purposes.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

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All Rights Reserved

The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights.  -Oswald Chambers

My nephew is 3 years old.  Lunch for his brothers and sister were being prepared for the day and they were being carefully assembled on the kitchen counter.  His mom grabbed the block of cheese from the refrigerator and began slicing pieces off for each of their lunch boxes.  No one was eating the cheese at the moment, it was for later.  But this little guy was ready, right now, to get his cheesy prize.  His logic was clearly, “if there’s cheese, then I get some.”  Unclear to him this was false logic, because once he found out he wasn’t getting any cheese, his happy, sweet and innocent self turned into a thrashing, loud and tearful torment.  What in the world just happened?

He felt he had a right to get cheese.  All the pieces were in place for this to be true . . . he was there, cheese was there, mommy was there, his mouth was there!  Cha-ching!

I have been challenged lately in my life in much the same way.  There are circumstances where I have felt all the right pieces were present for a very specific outcome.  On more than one occasion these moments have never turned out as I had imagined they would . . . or should.  So, upon departure I would find my anxiety to be high, my criticism to be sharp and despair to be looming near in the shadows.  What in the world just happened?

It’s all about my rights!  In those moments, much like my nephew, I thought I deserved something.  A pat on the back or a certain comment, maybe just a positive look to assure myself things are just fine.  The fact is I don’t NEED any of those things.  Sure, I’d like them and it would be added coolness to get them, but all of those things are already being met in and through Christ in me.  I just need to learn, and trust, in living in that truth.  My worth, my identity is found through Christ.

“I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

by: Mark Cruver

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