Tag Archives: Christ in me

(John 6:47-59) Eat Your Fill

I bet you think I’m talking about Thanksgiving dinner, right? Wrong. In fact, my thoughts today might cause you to lose your appetite all together.

I gotta be honest. Jesus’ words revealing Himself as the Bread of Life is gross. If a person didn’t know how often Jesus used metaphors and spoke in parables, they would be right to be disgusted by Jesus’ words in this passage. Be warned, my friend, before you turn to John 6.

But Jesus is not talking about cannibalism. He is not inviting anyone to gnaw on his physical flesh or drink the blood running through His veins here. It is true, however, that people who feed on Him will live forever.

Confused much?

Think about what Jesus is saying while using His body as an example. Being a Jesus-follower isn’t merely a nod at His diety, or acknowledging He is the Savior. Christianity isn’t merely a set of rules to follow, although obedience is certainly proof of being a Christian.

Jesus’ example of eating His flesh and drinking His blood tells me there is something uniquely different about being His. It’s an all-in, total transformation from the inside out. Here’s the correlation: when we eat and drink physical food and water, it enters our bodies and becomes nutrients, calories, energy and makes us healthy and strong. Eating and drinking sustains life.

And that’s what Jesus want to do in us. When we “take Him in,” He becomes our energy, strength, and spiritual health that will help us in this life and take us into eternity. He will transform us from weak, sinful people, into strong and healthy eternal individuals. It’s not about these rundown flesh and blood bodies. It’s about our spirits and souls.

When we ask Jesus to come “into our hearts,” we are asking Him to fill us completely, to become in us what we need for living today and forever. Just like food does for our bodies, Jesus does for our souls.

And Jesus isn’t talking about an occasional taste here. A nibble of food now and then isn’t enough to sustain a physical body. Neither is an occasional connection with Jesus. Read these verses. Jesus is talking about gorging ourselves on Him!

Take a bite. Read His Word. Take another bite and put your trust in Him. Eat some more by spending time with Him, growing in your knowledge and love of Him, allowing Him to transform you, strengthen you, direct your steps so that you look more and more like the One who fills you to overflowing.

Eat your fill. Then eat some more. You can’t get too much Jesus in you!

(2 Chronicles 6) Can You Imagine?

Solomon, standing in front of the finished temple with all its beauty, was overwhelmed – not by the artistry of the building – but by the Presence of God in that place.

“But will God indeed live on earth with humans? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain you, much less this temple I have built.” (vs 18)

Today, I am also overwhelmed. Not just at the thought of God living on earth with humans, although that in itself, in the person of Jesus Christ is absolutely beyond wonderful. I am overwhelmed that this great God who cannot be contained by the highest heaven actually lives IN ME!

Can I even grasp the fullness of that reality?

God, so vast, so beyond our understanding, the One who holds the universe – and every universe out there in the palm of His hand – knows ME, loves ME, and because His Son lived, died, and rose again to forgive sin, actually, without a doubt, lives in ME.

Solomon could not have imagined the truth of it. He was blown away by the thought of God taking up residence in the temple he had built. How much more would he have been amazed at that same God taking up residence in Connie.

Who?

I know. An insignificant, flawed, ordinary human living in the 21st century is the home of Creator God.

Can you imagine?

A Sign (Ezekiel 12)

The heading my NIV has given chapter 12 is “The Exile Symbolized.” God told Ezekiel to pack a travel bag during the daytime, and in front of the people, as though he was packing for exile. In the evening, again in front of the people, he was to dig a hole in the city wall with his bare hands, then take his travel bag and crawl through the hole to the other side.

Next, he was to strap his travel bag over his shoulder at dusk, and put a blindfold on so he couldn’t see. When asked by the people what he was doing, he was to answer, “I am a sign to you.”

The object lesson was not done. God told Ezekiel to “tremble” as he ate, to “shudder in fear” as he drank water, and warn the people they were going to live in fear and anxiety. “Then,” he said speaking God’s words, “you will know that I am the Lord.” (vs20b)

Makes me wonder what kind of “sign” I am to the people around me. The people watched Ezekiel, and people are watching me. Ezekiel’s actions revealed a God who judges sin, a God who demands obedience and harshly punishes disobedience. Is that the message people get from my life?

Or do they see a God who laughs at sin, a God who is more interested in my bank account and my physical comfort than my spiritual health and eternal soul? Does my life seem to draw a picture of a God who is comfortable on a shelf, or worse, irrelevant, outdated, and invisible? I pray that they recognize a God who is active in my life, directing my life, blessing me and growing me.

God was demonstrating through Ezekiel that there is a limit to His patience, that judgment follows disobedience, and the consequences for rejecting God are serious. I think He wants to demonstrate the same through me. Because if people don’t come to Him through His Son, their consequences are going to be worse than exile in Babylon for a few years.

I not only want people to recognize that God is serious about sin when they observe my life, I want them to see that God is merciful, forgiving, gracious, and good. I want them to see that following God is so much better than navigating this life without Him. I want them to look at me and want what I have in my relationship with Him.

God gave a sign to the Israelites through Ezekiel that warned them about their upcoming exile due to their rejection of God. I pray God will use me as a sign to people to warn them about what lies ahead as a result of their choices, too. But I pray He will give me the privilege of being an object lesson about what “saved by grace” looks like in real time.

May Jesus be seen in me, and may people be drawn to the Savior as a result.

The Power Of The Presence (I Samuel 4-8)

God’s Presence was in the ark of the covenant. That gold covered box was holy because God made His dwelling place there. The ark had to be handled very carefully. To mistreat it or dishonor it meant death.

70 men of Beth Shemesh died because they looked into the ark. When the Philistines captured the ark, a plague of tumors and rats infected any city that housed the ark. You couldn’t deny the power that accompanied the ark.

So the Philistines answer to that obvious power was, “Get rid of it! Send the ark back to the Jews.”

Now we Christians know God doesn’t dwell in a gold covered box these days. He doesn’t even dwell in churches (thankfully, since all the churches have closed their doors during this virus outbreak). God’s Presence is in all of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior.

There are a lot of lessons here in regard to God’s Presence. But today God is asking me what impact His Presence in me has on my town, on my neighbors, on my family.

Just the presence of the ark – no prophet preaching from the temple steps, no choir or musical instrument played – just the Presence of God caused non-believers to recognize God’s power. They saw the disease of their bodies and the filth of their surroundings just by being in God’s Presence.

And they didn’t like it. They rejected it. They could have bowed to the God whose power they’d come face to face with. But instead, they removed it from their presence.

Sometimes God can reveal Himself to a non-believer just by our association with them. Sometimes our choices to follow God speak to them about their choice not to. Sometimes God reveals sin to them, when they see us resisting sin for Jesus’ sake.

Now I’m not saying we have an excuse not to share the Gospel, not to talk to people about their need of a Savior. But I think God would have us be the “ark” so to speak. That vessel through which His power can be seen to everyone around us.

How are you handling this present crisis? Is God’s power revealed in you by your trust in Him? Or are you panicked like so many, worrying about the future as though you had no hope? God wants to reveal Himself through each of His children today.

May the power of His Presence in our hearts be seen, and may it draw people to a relationship with the Savior.

October 6; CANNOT

Matthew 5:21-7:29

Every verse in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a precious Truth that blesses and challenges me every time I read it. Today, however, it was one word that jumped out at me.

The other day I was convicted as I read that the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives has to show Himself in a change in our lives. (September 30; Baptized With The Spirit). There is no room for sin in the life of a believer because God does not stay where sin is.

I was reminded of that when I read 7:18, “A good tree CANNOT bear bad fruit, and a bad tree CANNOT bear good fruit. (emphasis mine)

Jesus was talking about recognizing false prophets. They look righteous, sound righteous, but they are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, Satan dressed up like a Christian.

I am once again reminded how important it is that my actions align with my profession of faith, that I am a light in a dark world, that I am able to address the speck in my brother’s eye because I have dealt with the plank in my own.

God CANNOT bear bad fruit. God CANNOT sin. God CANNOT think those thoughts, say those things, do anything which hurts or angers Himself. He CANNOT.

And if Jesus has really taken up residence in my heart, I can’t either, and be ok with it. If Jesus lives in me He WILL be seen.

Jesus said, “Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” (verse 19)

People CANNOT NOT recognize Jesus if He lives in me.

2 Chronicles 1-7; Temple Building

I understand that the magnificent temple Solomon built for the Lord here in 2 Chronicles stood for a little over 400 years before it was destroyed. For those of us who live in a country about 241 years old, 400 years seems pretty impressive.

But I was in Switzerland a few months ago and explored a building built in 866. It’s still in use today. That’s 1,151 years that structure has been standing. Puts Solomon’s temple in perspective.

What happened? Why couldn’t God protect this amazing temple?

As we continue to read Israel’s history as recorded in Scripture, we’ll find the answer: Disobedience.

It’s not that God couldn’t protect His temple. It’s that He wouldn’t if His people rejected Him. God’s promises for blessing are conditional. (7:19-22)

So, New Testament Christian, how’s your temple? Is it as magnificent, as beautiful in God’s eyes, a place where He delights in dwelling? Or are you beginning to show signs of decay? Is the enemy closing in?

I want this temple called Connie to last for eternity. I want God’s Presence to fill me, and cause me to worship Him with every minute He gives me. I want His Presence to be visible, and point people to Jesus by the way I live, the things I say and do, and by my faith in the Holy God.

May God’s residence on earth, this earthly temple I wear, be fit for the King He is.

I Kings 5-8; Christ In Me

This morning I read about the temple Solomon built for the Lord, every intricate detail. It must have been fabulous. Was there anything too good for the place God would dwell on earth? Solomon didn’t seem to think so.

At the dedication ceremony, after the temple was completed, Solomon appears to be overcome with awe, as he raised his hands and prayed. He had just built the most elaborate building most had ever seen. Yet standing in front of this magnificent structure he said:

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built. (8:27)

Paul tells us our very bodies are God’s temples these days. (I Corinthians 6:19) He’s not limited to one building, even a beautiful building like Solomon’s temple. He lives in me. Can it be, when even heaven can’t contain him?

The answer is yes!

Christ in me, the hope of glory. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed is as real as this chair I’m sitting in. The God of creation lives IN ME. I, like Solomon, am in awe.

Once again I am reminded to care for this temple where the Creator lives. I want to guard my heart, choose purity and commitment. Everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, knew that God dwelt in the temple Solomon built. I want Christians and non-Christians to know God lives in me today, by the way I talk, the things I do, the stand I take.

Let them see Jesus in me. Because Jesus really is in me!

________________________

Still waiting to get back on the island after the hurricane. Power and sewer companies hard at work to get things up and running, Chain saws are busy clearing the roads. And I sit here, ready to go home, waiting for the “all clear.” Thank you for your continued prayers for all of us effected by Irma. We all still have a lot to do, but am so thankful for God’s mercy.

People are asking why God did this. Is it a judgment on our nation? Honestly, God hasn’t let me in on that secret. But I do know, if it was judgment on a disobedient people, we are very blessed that all of us weren’t thrown into the ocean. God is merciful. And I continue to praise Him!

September 29 – Hidden Chambers

Nehemiah 11-13, Psalm 126

It seems as though as soon as Nehemiah went back to his job as King Artaxeses’ cupbearer, the people in Jerusalem, with their newly repaired wall, began to do their own thing. The priest even took one of the temple chambers and made it into a hotel room for Tobiah. Yes, THAT Tobiah who had been one of the liars and cheaters trying to stop the Jews from rebuilding the wall. The enemy was allowed to live IN THE TEMPLE!

The Jews began to disrespect the sabbath by farming, buying, and selling on that holy day. And…

wait for it…

a son of Eliashib the high priest married Sanballet’s daughter. The enemy had infiltrated Jerusalem and the temple without firing a shot.

So who’s living in your temple? Are there hidden chambers in your heart where you’ve prepared a place for the enemy? A secret room you think no one sees? Do you hide jealousy, lust, tolerance, unforgivness, internet sites or TV shows, drunkenness or dishonesty?

Have you established relationships with ungodly people, anti-christ and/or politically correct theologies that oppose Scripture? Are you one person at church and another in the workplace or in your home?

God is asking me today to clean out my temple like Nehemiah cleaned out the temple in Jerusalem. Completely. If I am comfortable living with sin in my life, in those hidden chambers of my heart, God is not going to be comfortable living in me.

And more than anything I want God to feel at home and welcome in my heart.

March 25 – A Rest From War

Joshua 9-11

These chapters tell of Israel’s taking of the Promised Land. It involved wars, and fire, and hangings, and destruction. Then in 11:23 we see that finally the land had rest from war. But it hadn’t been easy. And it didn’t happen over night.

11:18 says, “Joshua waged war a long time with all the kings.” God had promised the land. But the land needed some serious cleansing. They had to purge the evil before the Jews could live there.

My spiritual Promised Land is mine for the taking, too. It’s there God promises to never leave or forsake me, to live in my heart, to bless and keep me. But, just as with the Jews, there is some purging I must do.

I need to repent of sin, flee youthful lusts, love God with all my heart and soul, cleanse my hands and purify my heart, fight the good fight, put on the whole armor of God. And, just like with the Jews, God is going to fight for me.

God will help me rid my life of sin that so easily entangles me. When I allow God to come in and stand with me against our enemy, there is victory. Then I, too, can live in this world resting from the spiritual war Satan has declared on my soul.

With God I can be more than a conqueror. With God I can know the peace and rest that comes from abiding in Him, living in the Promised Land.

Feb 23 – Protecting The Presence

Number 1&2

It took a great amount of organization to navigate the Israelites through the desert. Clearly a million or so people weren’t going to get to the Promised Land if they were going at it a million ways. As it happens, God is a good organizer.

God broke it all down in manageable bits. His plan, if followed, would make the journey more enjoyable, and guaranteed its success.

You’ll notice in these chapters that everyone camped with their own family, and they set out with their own family. Reuben’s ancestors stayed together, as did Judah’s and Gad’s, as did each of the rest of the twelve tribes.

The Levites, who were in charge of caring for and transporting the temple, and who had no warriors among them, were always surrounded by the other tribes for protection.

You do know I think this is more than just nice little history lesson, right? The temple was where God abided on earth at that time. Today He abides in the hearts of those of us who are saved by His grace, through the blood of His Son.

So as I look at how God instructed the Jews to surround the temple, to protect it from all sides, I wonder what I am doing to protect God’s Presence in my own life.

Reading the Bible and praying, going to church, listening to Christian music are all good and useful. Resisting sin, being selective about the TV I watch or the books I read, standing up for the Truth of Scripture, sharing Christ with the lost, surrounding myself with Godly friends, serving, giving, are other ways of protecting Christ in me. The Bible tells us to put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6)

I am reminded there is an enemy in Satan who would destroy the Presence in me. I believe God is encouraging me today to be organized in my defense, to make purposeful choices to protect this place where He lives. If I do, it will make my journey through this life more enjoyable, and guarantee its success.

After all, Christ in me, the hope of glory! That’s worth protecting!