Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

The Proclomation of the Kingdom of GodImage by Michael 1952 via Flickr

In this hour in which we are living, God is supernaturally revealing His keys to bring about productivity in people’s lives. People are tired of a Gospel, no matter how true it is, that they can’t get to work. Matthew 16:19 says it this way: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be (“must already be,” Amplified version) bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, will be loosed (“must be already loosed,” Amplified version) in heaven.” Somehow, the church has managed to reduce the magnitude of this verse to semantics in prayer like “I bind the devil,” etc. While there is some truth to this thought process, this passage is more about “keys” or laws that govern access or attract the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven (or the kingdom of God) is God’s rule. It is also the combination of the location and resources of God and the system by which you access them in your life. Accessing kingdom resources allows believers to dominate their environment (Genesis 1:26) and establish God’s rule on earth……God’s rule (kingdom) occurs primarily when a person’s heart is under the influence of the grace from kingdom laws (principles). The supernatural rule of the kingdom on earth is activating God’s supernatural provision by yielding to it in our hearts.

Ron McIntosh
(from The Greatest Secret)
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Personal Prayer: Identity and Optimism

Thomas à Kempis on Mount Saint Agnes (1569)Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

It is often said that prayer is a personal thing and this is a true statement. Prayer is the one place where we can take off our masks, open our hearts, and speak openly and freely with our Creator. At the same time, some prayers are meant to be shared. I know in my own spiritual journey I have often been inspired by the prayers of others. In fact, there have been numerous occasions that the prayerful words of other have triggered new insights and valuable new pespectives on things.

Like most things, I suspect each person has to make up his or her mind about using the prayers of others.

As mentioned above, I have frequently found blessings in using the prayers of other Christians, especially those who have walked the path at a level much deeper than myself. Significant figures of the past immediately come to mind when I think of prayer: Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, William Law, Thomas A' Kempis, John and Charles Wesley, just to name a few.

I have especially found the practice of "praying the scriptures" to be of consistent value to me. This powerful practice has received quite a bit of ink of late, but it should also be noted that this sort of praying has a long history in Christian tradition. Further, I suspect that the discipline of praying the scriptures in a positive manner was far more widespread than we are aware of. After all, we only know of those who have published their ideas on the subject, as well as those who have shared their own personal prayers. I don't feel it is a huge jump of faith to believe that for everyone who wrote on this subject, there were many more who simply practiced the discipline for their own edification.

Whenever I pray the scriptures, I keep several guidelines in mind. First, I find passages of scripture that are clearly related to what I am praying about. Second, I always form the prayer in positive terms and, as much as possible, put my words in the present tense. Doing things this way is a result of my own personal experimentation with the discipline of praying the scriptures. Personally, I find my prayer time more rewarding and positive if I use relevant scriptures, couched in the present tense. However, that doesn't imply you or anyone else should pray in this manner. My only suggestion is to keep at it, be persistent and see where the Spirit leads you.

As an example, I would like to share a personal prayer wtih you. Since composing this prayer, I have used it many times with the goal of letting the words and principles soak deep into my sub-conscious mind. That way, the prayer becomes more personal - it becomes a part of me.

A bit of background: this prayer, entitled, "Father of Lights," came to me during a time when I was looking to the Bible for a deeper understanding of my identity in Christ. Paul speaks often of the fact that, as Christians, we are "in Christ" and also states that we should take solace and inspiration from the reality of "Christ in you." As the weeks passed, I experienced a deeper awareness of my new identity "in Christ" and this knowledge gave me an encouraging sense of optimism. If what Paul says is true, and I believe that it is, we Christians have every reason to be optimistic, not only in the next world, but especially in this one.

Feel free to use this prayer whatever manner you discern, with the help of the Holy Spirit, is best for you. If you post the prayer or publish it, please cite its origin.

Father of Lights

Father of Lights, you have said that in aligning with you I am a Child of the Light. I thank you for that honor and privilege and also thank you that you have made me a new creation. Today, I seek to take possession of my reborn identity in you and I thank you for providing me with the ability to do so, through the blessed work of the Holy Spirit.

Father, I know you have placed in me from birth a right, preserving and steadfast spirit and I know that the Holy Spirit will empower me to contact, develop, embrace and enhance those divine qualities, all to your glory and for the sake of others as well as for the purpose of growing in sacred character.

I know Father that above all, you are a God of restoration and a God of renewal. I know that according to your holy Word, that you are, at this very moment, renewing in me the mind of Christ – the most sacred mind. Your Spirit is at work in me today, enabling me to live a life of integrity, enthusiasm and empowering me to maintain a commitment to excellence. I thank you Father for your faithfulness and the blessings you are bestowing on me today, both seen and unseen.

Father, thank you for your unfailing faithfulness. You have proven time and time again that you are there, walking as my companion, even when I don’t see you and even more when I don’t acknowledge your presence. I know that you have said that you desire my best and that all things, whether I can understand them or not, work together for my greatest good. Therefore, looking to you, I expect good and good alone.

Father of Lights:

I thank you for your presence with me;

I thank you for your presence in me;

I thank you for protecting me;

I thank you for providing for me;

I thank you for empowering me.

I am grateful my Lord, knowing that I will find in you all I will ever need.

(In the name of Jesus, the name at which every knee shall bow - Amen)

© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

John 1:5Image by A. Page via Flickr

Earth’s unlimited resource is the gifts, talent, passions, imagination, and ingenuity of its citizens. You would think that we know this by now, but we often seem to miss the gift right in front of us. The world needs you to find the hero within you. The real battle is not between good and evil but between less and more. Most of us don’t choose the worst life; we just don’t choose the best. We can’t afford for you to sleep through your dreams…..The world needs you at your best. This planet is made better or worse by the people we choose to become. If you live a diminished life, its not only you who loses, but the world loses, and humanity loses. There is a story to be written by your life, and thought it may never inspire a graphic novel, it is a heroic tale nonetheless. Though you may not recognize it, there is a greatness within you.

Erwin Raphael McManus

(from Wide Awake)
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Friday, October 22, 2010

You Are Still a Needed Servant

P christianityImage via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

Josh is a brilliant man and is one of the most creative, visionary people I know. Possessing the uncanny ability to look at a problematic situation, size up its parameters, and come up with positive, workable solutions to address the problems, Josh would be an asset to any organization that employed him. People with the visionary foresight and strength that Josh has are few and far between.

That’s why it is so hard for me to believe that Josh just completed his fourteenth year employed as a stockroom worker at a retail shoe store. A college graduate and now in his mid-thirties, Josh is working the same job he obtained while working his way through school. It’s not that Josh has not had opportunities; it’s just that he doesn’t take advantage of them. On several occasions he has been offered good positions with local social service agencies after fellow church members, aware of Josh’s talents, have put in a good word for him. Each time Josh turned down the job.

After providing invaluable help to his pastor in getting a couple of community projects off the ground, Josh was asked to take a leadership role in an exciting development and expansion program his church was undertaking. Predictably, Josh declined.

Unfortunately, there are many like Josh who go through life under-employed, under-utilized, and unfulfilled. Although this is not what God had in mind, these talented individuals sabotage themselves and never leave the starting gate.

This happens for a variety of reasons. Some folks feel inadequate to the task of manifesting their vision in the reality of the day-to-day life in which they dwell. Others, top put it bluntly, are just too plain lazy to do what it is they are called to do. Still others lack basic motivation and for unconscious reasons quench the passion they feel for their purpose in life. Like the Beauty School Dropout in the musical Grease, they have the dream but not the drive.

Many, however, simply cannot believe God wants to use them due to past failures and disappointments. This was basically Josh’s problem. In his late teens he was involved in several crimes in which someone was seriously injured by accident. Josh was never caught and has no criminal record. Still, he feels responsible for what happened and, although God has forgiven him, he hasn’t forgiven himself. Moreover, Josh is convinced beyond a doubt that what he did disqualifies him for service to the Lord.

Josh and other believers like him choose to ignore the many biblical examples of heroes used by God even though they failed in the past. Think of Moses for example, a murderer who delivered his people from bondage in Egypt. Think of David, an adulterer who was also involved in a murder conspiracy. This sinner became a great king, an ancestor of Christ, and “a man after God’s own heart.” Think of Peter, who denied Christ three times on the night He was arrested. It was upon the “rock” of Peter that the New Testament Church was built.

No, my friend, you are wrong if you think God will not use you because you failed in the past. Your failures, your shortcomings, your screw-ups – oddly enough, in God’s way of doing things may be your chief qualification for service to the Creator.

I want to use this article to encourage you to understand and accept the reality that God put a potential and purpose in you before you were born and, further, he still wants that purpose to be realized. Stop looking back at the past and instead, step forward into the service that God has for you. You cannot change the past but know this: whatever happened is history in God’s eyes and in God’s heart. As a Christian you have been forgiven so turn your eyes forward instead of keeping them riveted in your rear view mirror.

Do all that you can to let this truth sink deep into the depths of your heart: where you are going, what is in your future is far more important that what’s behind you. Scripture tells us that with God, all things are possible. So if it seems your dreams have died, let the Lord resurrect those dormant dreams and allow those dreams to drive you and motivate you to be all that you can be for the glory of God and the sake of others.

Our world is a hurting world and there are many areas of need. The dream God placed in your heart is designed to deal with one of those areas. More than anything, the church, the Body of Christ, needs compassionate people of noble character and a heart of service. That’s you, my friend.

Take the gifts God has given you and put them to work in service to something larger than yourself. You will be amazed at the transformation that will take place in your life if you consecrate yourself to using your talents for God’s plans and purposes.

Also, keep in mind that God would never place a dream in your heart without giving you all the talents you need to bring it to completion. I encourage you to take this principle on faith and act on it. Just put one foot in front of the other and start taking small steps toward making that God-given dream a bit closer to manifestation. Again, just trust that God has placed in you everything you need to succeed. Pastor Joel Osteen speaks clearly to this issue:

God would never put a dream in your heart if He had not already given you everything you need to fulfill it. That means if I have a dream or a desire, and I know it’s from God, I don’t have to worry whether I have what it takes to see that dream fulfilled. I know God doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t call us to do something without giving us the ability or the wherewithal to do it…You have to realize that God has matched you with your world. In other words, even though at times you may not feel that you are able to accomplish your dreams, you have to get beyond those feelings and know deep inside, I have the seed of Almighty God in Me. Understand, God will never put a dream in your heart without first equipping you with everything you need to accomplish it.

In contrast to my friend Josh, Marty is an amazing example of how God often uses our areas of failure as a way of carrying forward his kingdom purpose on earth. Marty, a native of New York, had moved to South Florida in an attempt to find a geographical cure for his long standing addiction to heroin and cocaine. Had his thinking been even half way rational, Marty would have reasoned that moving to Miami, the hotbed of the drug world, was a mistake. Finding that drugs were much cheaper in Miami, mostly due to lack of transportation mark up, Marty quickly returned to his old ways. Quickly spiraling downward, Marty soon hit bottom. Arrested for an assortment of petty theft charges, Marty found himself in jail awaiting his hearing. He had neither bond money, nor any friends in the area. Marty had no choice but to cool his jets in the Dade County Stockade.

Marty’s time in jail provided him with an opportunity to face his situation honesty and he didn’t like what he saw. The Holy Spirit also went to work on Marty and helped ripen him for what was to come. After over five weeks in the slammer, he was informed that a local pastor was coming to give a talk to the inmates and, if he so desired, he could attend the lecture.

Feeling an almost magnetic pull to go to the presentation, he initially resisted. Marty feared that this pastor would be someone from the straight world and highly judgmental, he almost talked himself out of going. Still believing he had nothing to gain, he went anyway.

Sitting near the back of the room, Marty listened as the stockade chaplain introduced the speaker, Brother Larry. Marty was confused because the chaplain was the only person sitting at the front table. Maybe he hadn’t noticed that this Brother Larry wasn’t there, thought Marty. Next, a rather large man stood up from his seat in the front row. He walked to the podium and when he looked out at the crowd, Marty almost fainted.

Brother Larry was a large man with waist length hair and tattoos all over his arms and hands. He had a large scar on his right cheek, evidently from a knife wound suffered long ago. Then, as Brother Larry began his sermon, Marty almost fell out of his chair.

Not only did Marty recognize Brother Larry, he realized that it was he who had cut the preachers face. Many years earlier, in a drug deal gone sour in Queens, a fight had ensued and Marty found himself being pummeled by a large man. Reaching in his boot, Marty took out a dagger and slit his attacker’s cheek to the jaw bone. His attacker that night was none other than Brother Larry.

To make a long story short, Brother Larry spoke of his addiction, his crimes, and his eight-year term in Attica State Prison. He also spoke of how, as the result of a visit from a volunteer with Prison Fellowship, he found Christ and his life was turned around. Brother Larry now ran a halfway house in South Miami that gave recovering addicts a place to stay after they were released from incarceration. His ministry found them job training, gave them work to do, and made certain the residents were well connected with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Marty wondered if Brother Larry had recognized him that evening at the meeting in the stockade. He did. Two days later Brother Larry showed up to visit Marty. After being released, Marty lived for two years at Brother Larry’s halfway house. And that’s not all. Brother Larry recognized potential in Marty and encouraged him to return to college and finish his degree. He told Marty he had managed to get a donor to pay for Marty’s tuition, but the truth was Brother Larry paid for it out of his own pocket. Displaying true Christian forgiveness, Brother Larry never mentioned the scar he would carry for the rest of his life, nor any resentment toward Marty for inflicting it upon him. Instead, he paid for Marty’s college education and, after Marty had graduated, encouraged him to go on to seminary.

Marty graduated from seminary two years later and now runs the ministry begun by Brother Larry. Under Marty’s guidance and with God’s help, two more halfway houses were opened in nearby cities and are full with long waiting lists. One week after Marty’s graduation, Brother Larry had left this earth for his heavenly reward. He left behind a legacy, as well as a successor.

God used Brother Larry and he used Marty in the very arena where both of them had failed, hurt others, and suffered. Instead of punishing this pair of wayward prodigals, God exhibited a healing love to Brother Larry, who in turn, gave this same forgiving love to Marty. Brother Larry gave flesh to grace, just as Jesus did when he came to visit this planet.

The next time you think God can’t use you, think again. What do you think would have happened if Brother Larry had felt God could not and would not work through him? Certainly Marty would not be where he is today.

Look around you, my friend. Find a need and get busy doing something to meet it. You may very well be surprised what God can and will do through you if you just give him a chance.

Think about it.
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(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

SuccessImage by aloshbennett via Flickr

Don’t set your target low and aim for an inferior calling. Allow God to quicken His Word to you and push your thoughts higher. Let the fuel of His presence propel you toward His thoughts for your life. God wants to pour His Spirit into your heart and mind to give you high expectations. You are more than a conqueror. You can break bad habits. You can do great things……Rise up and take what is yours. Don’t sit back and allow life to pass by. Get up and take hold of the promises of God. Get up and pursue the vision God has placed in your heart….You may have forgotten the dream you used to have, but God hasn’t. You may not believe in the dream anymore, but He does. He believes in the dream, and He believes in you. He has been working on you and your dream the whole time. It may have been a long time. Many years may have passed since you first began to dream the dream. You may have lost many precious things. You may have lost hope. The dream may have faded from delay after delay. But mark it down: it is not over yet!

Frank Damazio

(from The Attitude of Faith)
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Spiritual Formation: Align and Abide

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove above the H...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

If a person is discerning enough to see beneath the sea of “Sunday smiles” and outward displays of spiritual satisfaction, it would quickly become apparent that many Christians seem to be living, in the words of Thoreau, lives of "quiet desperation.” It is as if many sincere believers are staggering about under a dark cloud of disappointment and, deep in their inner core, asking themselves, “Is this all there is?” Although Jesus came to give abundant life, it is quite commonplace to see depression, anxiety, fear, and a host of other negative emotional states ride on the backs of sincere Christians and, to make matters worse, most have no clue as to why.

Even the most superficial scan of scripture will reveal that this is not the way things were intended to be. We are, in fact, promised to "have life more abundantly". So what is the basic issue here? Why are so many within the Body of Christ so beset?

The basic issue here seems to be one of misalignment. Let me explain this in brief. Scripture reveals that we are composed of three aspects, Body, Psyche, and Spirit. Space does not permit a detailed description of this tripartite makeup of our being, but a few words of explanation or in order.

1. Our body is the home of our being while here on earth. God created us primarily as spirit beings, but in order to dwell in the physical world, we need a physical home, thus our physical bodies.

2. Things become a bit more complicated when discussing our mind. The biblical term most often used to describe this aspect of our being is “soul” and the Greek word is “psuche.” It is obvious that our English term “psyche” is derived from this word. Our psyche includes our cognitive life (thoughts), our emotions, our will and our habituated responses to life (our habits). Since the Fall, our Spirit has been inactive and our soul or psyche has been in charge. This was not what God intended and the results of this usurpation of power have been dismal.

3. Our Spirit is the key to living a life in accordance with God’s will and plan. As mentioned, our human spirit became inactive at the Fall, and was dethroned by our psyche. Yet, God intended for our human spirit to be the vehicle whereby the Holy Spirit could communicate with each of us. It is interesting to note that the Greek word for the human “spirit” is “pneuma” and is the same word as the one used in Holy “Spirit.” Obviously, God intended a strong connection between our spirits and the Holy Spirit. Further, it was our human spirit that God intended to be used when we communicated with the spiritual world.

Once our spirit is reactivated through conversion, we are supposed to live a life where the Spirit is in the pilot's seat so to speak, directing the thoughts and actions of the mind and body. But here is the rub. Just because we become Christians, the mind doesn't just go away. The old mind remains strong and active. Here perhaps a better word is psyche. The psyche is composed of our thoughts, feelings, temperament, and affections.

It is important to understand that the psyche has a life of its own and, more importantly, it has its own agenda. All of our life, the psyche has been in charge. The psyche has called the shots and it isn't about to give up this role without a fight. So the fact of the matter is that as soon as we enter the Christian walk, a battle is set up inside between the psyche and the spirit. This battle is basically between our old self and our new self or, as Paul puts it, between our flesh and our spirit.

As Christians, we are called to walk in the Spirit. What does this mean? It means the Spirit is supposed to take precedent in our lives. The Spirit is the presence of God within us. This is our new command center. But, as stated earlier, there is an internal war in progress and the fact is, our enemy in this sense is our psyche. It is our psyche that has to be put under control of the spirit. This process is never easy and we can never accomplish it on our own. But we are not left alone to fight this battle. God has promised to empower us to emerge victorious. He has said in Ezekiel that He will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh; a new and living heart, controlled and directed by the Holy Spirit.

The problem is most Christians lose this battle on a daily basis because they have not been taught, or if they have been taught, they have resisted, the methodology of how to procure the necessary tools to fight the enemy and ultimately gain victory over their old self.

The solution to this problem is complicated on some levels perhaps, but basically it is quite simple. We have to undergo a realignment whereby our bodies, psyche, and spirit become a functioning whole with a unified purpose. This new alignment is under the direction of the Spirit. As we go through the process of this alignment, we are also told by Christ that we are to abide. "Abide in me.." he tells us. So we can say that what we are called to do is to align and abide. The problem is that most Christians never learn how to do this. There are many reasons for this but space does not allow for a discussion of that here. At its core, this problem I think has resulted from the ongoing faith/works controversy and has placed much of the church in a position of being dis-empowered and paralyzed spiritually. What the church must now do is to rediscover how to align and abide. I say rediscover because the methodology for this process has been around since the beginning of the church.

One other note here. Any discussion of alignment should include the fact that this process has an inner dimension and an outer dimension. Actually, there is no real distinction in essence, but to define it in these terms seems more comprehensive. The inner dimension involves achieving an alignment as follows:


The outer dimension involves the alignment spoken of by Christ in the Gospel of John when he prays that we are in Him as he is in the Father. So the outer dimension looks like this:


Looked at from this perspective, the inner dimension reflects the reality that the mind, when controlled by the Spirit in proper alignment, is the mediator between the Spirit and the body and thus, the mediator between the Spirit and our actions in the world. That is why we have to "renew our minds" or, again in the words of Paul, "have the mind of Christ". Only by doing so can we then effectively incarnate the Spirit through us and into the world. The outer dimension reflects the reality of the Gospel in its essence. It is only through Christ that we can connect with the Father and this awareness sheds light on Jesus' statement that he who has seen me has seen the Father. It is also scripturally sound in that it reflects the words of Paul that alludes to the fact that there is one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ.

How then are we supposed to bring the needed realignment about? The process is quite simple to understand, but sometimes difficult to apply. What we have to do is:

1. Trust God to do what He says he will do. We have to trust in and rely on the Holy Spirit.

2. We have to look to Christ as our model of how to walk in faith.

3. We have to rediscover the value and the power of "Spiritual Disciplines"

4. We have to directly confront and, with the help of the Spirit, deal with the psyche in all its subtle ramifications and retrain it to be subordinate to and in line with the directions of the Spirit. This is accomplished by following the Spirits lead as it "convicts of sin.” Many times what we call "sin" is a direct result of "misalignment". I think it can also be said that our problem with misalignment began with the Fall, when the original couple tried to “be as god” and wound up putting the soul (psyche) on the throne where Spirit should rule. That is where all behavior that we call sin comes from.

5. At LifeBrook, we often stress what we call “conscious cognition” as a vital part in abiding. Basically, this refers to the process of renewing the mind in general and dealing with our thought life in particular. Conscious Cognition involves directly dealing with our thoughts, taking thoughts captive for Christ, tearing down strongholds, and learning to think in more positive, optimistic, and constructive ways.

6. Perhaps the most significant aspect of establishing a life that is aligned with God and continues to abide in His will is obedience. More than anything else, obedience allows us to abide in God’s will more continuously and to manifest that will in proactive ways.

A misalignment where the psyche is dominant and the Spirit negated, even if it accomplishes much, can accomplish nothing that does not, at least at a subtle level, bear the taint of selfishness. Secondly, in order to accomplish this we must "renew our minds" and I can think of no better way to do this than by actively sowing the seed of the Word of God into our hearts. Remember, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

The sequence is important: first we align, and then we abide. Abiding is nothing more or less than maintaining our connection with the life giving Spirit of Christ. We align by initiating a practice of spiritual disciplines that have been used for centuries in the church; practices such as prayer in its various forms, meditation (sacred silence and listening to God), study of and reflection upon Scripture, submission, service, and any other practice that is biblical, places Christ at the center, and seeks to discern God’s will and carry it out.

Again, proper alignment is central to every aspect of the Christian life. Without proper alignment we are more prone to walking in our own illusions and making mistakes, sometimes big and sometimes small. And what is it we are to align with? The answer is a simple one. We are to align with the Spirit of God that has been placed within us by the loving hand of the Father. At conversion our human spirit again became what it was in Genesis, alive. The Hebrew word for this is chay and the Greek is Zoe. New Testament writers almost always used this word, zoe, to describe life.

As we are able align and abide, our zoe, our very life, becomes more vital and spirit-filled. More importantly, with proper alignment it is spirit-controlled. We then abide and, in the words of Paul, walk in the Spirit.

When we are able to arrive at this point where we are able to truly walk in the spirit, with our renewed minds and our spirit-controlled body in proper alignment, we tend to experience the polar opposite of those harshly negative mental and emotional states discussed early in this post. Instead, Paul speaks clearly to us, saying that if we walk in the Spirit we will experience such blessed states as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A God of Purpose - A God of Provision

The descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of t...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

I am convinced that few of us truly understand our true potential as children of the Father of Lights, the Living God. By remaining ignorant of who and what we are, we end up limping through life rather than soaring. We end up settling for scraps from the table when we should, in fact, own the table and the house that it sits in.

For many years I either failed to understand the blessings of the full gospel or I misunderstood it. Either way, I wasted a lot of time thinking I knew what I was talking about when, in fact, I didn’t. I would be greatly saddened if that happened to you and this, my friend, is one of the main catalysts that gave birth to Sacred Mind Ministries. God etched upon my heart the need for sound teaching and quality educational materials that would foster deeper awareness of the Christian’s true potential and identity “in Christ.” Further, I began to understand that the primary purpose of having this blessed gift of a new identity and new personal power in Christ is to assist in the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. It is to this mission that we at SMM remain committed.

Understanding our true identity is intimately connected with the realization of our divine potential. These issues are among the deeper things God, working through the Holy Spirit, wants to impart to us. All we need to receive these vital revelations is an open mind and a receptive heart. We don’t need to wait until we arrive in heaven to gain awareness of these gifts – in fact, by the time we get to heaven we will have already been utilizing our divine power here on earth for many years. Dr. Myles Munroe speaks clearly to these themes:

God has prepared so many deep things about who we are. Our eyes can’t see them, nor can our minds conceive them, yet God is revealing them to us through His Spirit. God doesn’t want us to wait until heaven to know our full potential. He didn’t give birth to us so we can develop our potential in heaven…..God wants us to realize here on this planet who we are. That is His purpose in creating us. We need the Holy Spirit because eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor has it entered the minds of men who man really is. Only the Holy Spirit searches “the deep things of God.”…..God beckons you to take another step into a deeper, more relevant knowledge of your potential in Christ – Though you may have been saved for years. You need to take this step because you still don’t know who you are.

You see, friends, most of us claiming to be followers of Christ are well intended but poorly equipped to make those intentions a reality in daily living. This statement is not intended to be a criticism of the modern church or a slap in the face of well-meaning Christians who are committed to bringing God’s kingdom out of the spiritual realm and making it manifest right here on earth. Instead, I say these words because they are true. Most of us do not have a clue as to what we can do to not only make our lives more fruitful and productive, but also to bring success to the calling that God has placed in each of our hearts.

The good news is, however, that we serve a God of purpose and provision. The Father of Lights has a well-planned purpose for this world which involves redemption and restoration. He is proactive in redeeming what was lost in the Garden and, joined at the hip of this plan of redemption, is the reality of restoration. Each of us, and that includes you and me, are being redeemed for the purpose of restoring God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. We are being redeemed in order to bring about the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.

Please note that I use the word “redeemed” not just in the past tense, but in the sense of an ongoing process. We were indeed redeemed when we acknowledged and accepted Christ for who and what he was and is, but it doesn’t stop there. The process of redemption continues and goes deeper and deeper as our bodies, our minds, our wills, and our spirits, become properly aligned with those of the Master. In essence, we were given new life and a new identity at our second birth. Now each of us is in the process of growing into that life in increasing measure. The goal is that we have, as Paul so aptly puts it, the “full measure of Christ” within us.

We are given this new life, this new status, and this new power for the primary purpose of continuing the incarnation that we saw so vividly in the life of Jesus. The Master announced the coming of the kingdom and then proceeded to go about the work of making it manifest in this world. And hear this, he charged us with the task of carrying on where he left off. Furthermore, he sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, empower us, and guide us forward in that holy process. God not only has given us a calling and a purpose, he has provided the power we need to meet that purpose and make it a living reality.

In 2 Peter 1:4 we are told that God has put us in a position where we can share in his divine nature. No, that doesn’t mean he has made us Gods, or even little gods as some have suggested. It does mean, however, that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead now resides in each of us. The Father of Lights, as stated earlier, is not only a God of purpose, but also a God of provision, enabling us to meet the challenges of doing those things that he has called us to do. Friends, if you can understand that principle, make it yours through faith, and take action based on it, you can succeed at any God-directed, God-ordained calling.

© L.D. Turner 2010/ All Rights Reserved
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Christian Bible, rosary, and crucifix.Image via Wikipedia

God has given you authority and power to take dominion over all things on earth. Your first responsibility, however, is to subdue and take dominion over the only enemy that can defeat you – YOU!

You cannot triumph over the external world until you subdue and take dominion over you! You will have to wage war against every argument within you that challenges what God has said about you.

You have been taught by the world to see yourself as inferior to what God’s original plan was for you. Your years of conditioning and indoctrination will cause you to doubt what the Almighty said about you. You will find yourself struggling against what God has said. Doubt and unbelief will be unrelenting in their challenge to influence you to believe what God says cannot be true.

It will take some time to undo the conditioning of years of misinformation, but God’s Word is sure and powerful. If you continue hearing the Word of God over and over again, your thinking will become aligned with it and your mind will be renewed. Then, because of our persistent and diligent efforts, your life will be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Bishop Jim Lowe
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Cover of "Revolution"Cover of Revolution

The United States is home to an increasing number of Revolutionaries. These people are devout followers of Jesus Christ who are serious about their faith, who are constantly worshipping and interacting with God, and whose lives are centered on their belief in Christ. Some of them are aligned with a congregational church, but many of them are not. The key to understanding Revolutionaries is not what church they attend, or even if they attend. Instead, it’s their complete dedication to being thoroughly Christian by viewing every moment of life through a spiritual lens and making every decision in light of biblical principles. These are individuals who are determined to glorify God every day through every thought, word, and deed in their lives.

George Barna

(from Revolution)
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Christian Optimism is Grounded in God's Love and Grace

The Return of the Prodigal Son (1886-94) from ...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

One of the very first praise songs my daughter Salina learned in the Christian pre-school she attended was the same classic that I learned when I was her tender age.

Jesus loves me, this I know
‘Cause the Bible tells me so

Chances are this is the first praise song most of us learned, especially if we grew up in and around the church. Interestingly enough, these innocent words of this simple children’s song contain two of the most basic yet strategic reasons for being a Christian optimist.

First, the song gives us the basic premise of the gospel message right out of the gate, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Christian optimism begins with the fundamental biblical truth that God loves us, whether or not we deserve it. The fact that I am loved by God (as are you) is the crown jewel of the gospel and the cornerstone of Christian optimism.

“For God so loved the world…”

So begins the most famous verse in scripture. Along with the simple praise song we have been talking about, I suspect that John 3:16 is one of the first Bible verses we came in contact with. Just as in the Jesus Love Me hymn, the message here is that God loves us in a way that we can’t imagine. He loves us enough to offer up the greatest sacrifice that can be offered and, tied to our belief in this truth, comes the incredible love gift of eternal life.

“Shall never perish, but have everlasting life.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to pause, pray a little, and let the enormity of the implications of this all-too-familiar passage of scripture truly sink in.

“Shall never perish, but have everlasting life.”

With the promise of such an incredible gift flowing out of God’s heart of divine love, how can we be anything but optimistic? In fact, I think anything short of radical optimism in response to what God has done may be right on the cusp of sin.

As Christians we often hear about God’s love for us but perhaps it is the very frequency at which these words, “God’s love,” are spoken that make us deaf to the real message here. Unlike other religions and belief systems, Christians worship a God that is proactive in his desire for us to enter into a life-giving and life-changing relationship with him. Remember the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? He didn’t just sit at home hoping that his wayward child would some day find his way home. No, the father lived in faith and positive expectancy. As a result, he went out to a place that overlooked the road and waited in anticipation for that tiny speck to appear on the horizon and, as the speck drew closer and grew larger, he ran out to meet his prodigal. It is this kind of proactive love on the part of God that makes our human capacity to love even possible.

John, who liked to call himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” tells us, “We love because he first loved us.” As we can clearly see from this scripture, not only is our optimism grounded in God’s love, but also our capacity to love itself.

In closing, let me say that if you are seeking justification for Christian optimism, just turn to scripture. The Bible is filled with reasons, stated in ways direct and sublime, which give us great cause to be optimistic. If you happen to be person with a long history of pessimism or thinking that gravitates toward the negative, take specific scriptures that give you reason to be optimistic and read them over and over. Turn them into positive statements and use these powerful scriptures as affirmations. Doing this is a standard part of what we at Sacred Mind Ministries call ‘proactive prayer.”

Here is an example. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Also, 2 Corinthians 5:17 affirms that, “…anyone who belongs to Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone and the new life has begun.” Turning this pair of powerful scriptures into a positive, proactive prayer, you might say:

I take possession of the reality that in Christ I am a new creation and that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

If so moved, you might even add:

Behold, the old life has passed away and my new life has begun.

Repeating these positive, proactive and affirmative prayers repeatedly helps sink the potent words of scripture deep into your subconscious mind, bring a healing presence and a voice counter to those old negative tapes that have been playing for so long. Granted, change won’t come overnight but believe me, friend, it will come. Few people went through life more negative than I did. I could find a dark lining in any silver cloud and often did. God’s grace, working through the personhood of the blessed Holy Spirit, has helped me heal many of those deep-seated scars in my psyche. Don’t doubt the process of positive repetition of scripture – it will work wonders.

As they say in the Nike ads – Just Do It!

(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why I Am a Christian Optimist

A dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, who is be...Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

I am often asked why I believe so strongly that Christians should be among the world’s most ardent optimists. I normally respond by saying that it is, more than anything else, due to the nature and the character of the God I worship. Most folks leave it at that. On occasion, however, an inquirer might want a bit more detail.

The reasons that I have adopted Christian optimism as my foundational philosophy of life are too many to mention in any short conversation and certainly within the framework of this article. Suffice it to say that once I began to take my walk with Christ seriously and put in to practice as best I could a sincere desire to live according to his teachings, the Holy Spirit gradually revealed to me why optimism was the Christian’s inherent approach to life.

As I began to explore scripture through this frame of reference, it is as if the Bible became a living organism, consistently revealing its truths in relation to the nature and character of God. These revelations of God’s love, his faithfulness, and his integrity brought about a positive response in my being and this response flowered into an optimistic approach to life. Over time I came to understand that the optimal way to live is as a Christian optimist. Even our language reflects this reality as optimal and optimism have the same prefix and the same root.

As I said earlier, the confines of this article does not allow for a detailed list of the reasons why I am a Christian optimist. I do, however, want to list a few of the reasons below. Should you desire a more in depth study of the subject, I suggest that you study the Bible, focusing of the nature and character of the Father as revealed in scripture in general and in the persons of Christ and the Holy Spirit in particular.

I am a Christian optimist because:

The Biblical God is a God of love. Further, he loves me.

The God of Scripture loves me with a proactive love, not a passive, indifferent, and conditional type of love. The Bible reveals that God loves me enough to send his only Son to die for me so that I might have life to the fullest and, on top of that, have life eternally.

The God of the Bible further exhibits his proactive love by pursuing me. He chased me down when I ran from him. Consistently acting as the “Hound of Heaven,” the God I worship continues to come and find me when I have strayed from the sheepfold and, wonder of wonders, loves me still.

If ever there was a prodigal on this earth, it is I. Still, my God not only accepts me back after I wander here and there, he comes out on the path to meet me and, in spite of my faithlessness, he celebrates my return. Even though I am undeserving of his love and his grace, he gives it freely.

My God is a God of mercy, not justice. I shudder to think what life would be if I got what I actually deserve.

The Biblical God gave up a part of himself so that I might be forgiven; and he sent another part of himself so that I might live the kind of life he wants me to live. I am optimistic because I am forgiven and I am empowered.

God allows me to partake of his divine nature.

The Christian God has already blessed me with all that I need to live a holy life and has further blessed me by indwelling me with the power to make that life manifest on a daily basis.

The Biblical God has placed within me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

The God I worship has made me a New Creation and has promised that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My God has said that he has prepared even greater things for me in the next world.

The God revealed in Scripture has told me that Christ will, indeed, come again.

Obviously, I could go on and on here but by now I hope you get the picture. As a Christian I have every right to be an optimist. In fact, I could be nothing other than an optimist. Sure, life has problems and will always have problems. The Christian life is not a pleasure cruise. Far from it. Yet in spite of this, I am an optimist because I know that I have the power within me to handle any situation that may arise. God has promised me that he will never make me face more than I can handle.

I am a Christian optimist because he that is within me is greater than he who is in the world.

(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Cover of "The Monday Morning Church: Out ...Cover via Amazon

You are not just a bad person getting better. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus, and the old things are passing away (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). They’re on their way out, not because are working on them, but because there’s a new life principle working in you…Because you’re new, the old can’t last. The newness is replacing all that is obsolete. A new person is emerging, not because the old one is changing a little bit at a time, but because you are a new person. You are complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10 says, “You have been given fullness in Christ.” You’re fully who he wants you to be. And you’re in the process of becoming who you really are…..What God does is establish your identity and then pull you up into it. You’re in that process – of being pulled up! God deals with you according to your true identity: a new creation in Christ with a new power source, a new position, a new potential, and a new purpose.

Jerry Cook
(from The Monday Morning Church)

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Today's Encouraging Word

Light within all living beingsImage by Unitopia via Flickr

If you attempt new things and make choices that stretch your horizons, you will embark on an exciting journey. You will begin to see the marvelous being God created you to be – a being filled with more capabilities than you ever dreamed possible. The journey begins when you gain an understanding of what potential is and how you can release it. For once you understand the wealth God gave you, to turn from consciously and conscientiously unwrapping God’s gift is to abort your potential and refuse to fulfill the purpose for which He gave you life. The knowledge of what you have failed to use to benefit yourself, your contemporaries, and the generations to follow will judge you on the great day of accountability. Potential is given to be released, not wasted.

Dr. Myles Munroe
(from Releasing Your Potential)
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Positive Prayer: Releasing Negative Imprints

Holy Spirit dove windowImage by hickory hardscrabble via Flickr

L.D. Turner

When a person first discovers the principles and the power of the various spiritual laws the Creator has put at our disposal, he or she is often filled with hope, enthusiasm, and positive motivation. This is both natural and as it should be, because these principles are blessings that God has given us and intends for us to use, especially when we need to make major life changes in general and changes that help us to grow spiritually in particular.

However, all too often this initial burst of enthusiasm is dampened when, despite applying these powerful spiritual principles correctly, the spiritual aspirant seems to obtain minimal results. This can be a frustrating experience, especially for those who are sincere spiritual seekers that want to not only improve themselves, but the world around them. Invariably, however, most of us reach this point when we consistently work with the Laws of Manifestation. Indeed, this can be a highly critical crossroads along the journey of spiritual development. More than a few dedicated seekers have thrown in the towel when this sort of experience begins to repeat itself with regularity. Believe me, I know because I have been there – done that.

What is even more tragic about this situation is the reality that this crisis can be worked through without too much difficulty. All it takes is a degree of awareness regarding the less-than-pristine nature of our subconscious mind and knowledge of the proper prayer tools to deal with it.

The Laws of Manifestation, those principles at play when we work to bring something from the spiritual world into manifestation on the physical plane, would work perfectly all the time if they operated through perfectly pure minds in a perfectly pure world. The unfortunate reality is, however, neither the minds in question nor the world in which they operate are anywhere near pure. We all have subconscious patterns of belief that operate beyond our capacity to control them, largely because we are unaware of them. These patterns of belief can sometimes sabotage our best intentions and, if we want to become more adept at applying spiritual law, we have to deal with these subconscious themes.

Although these subconscious themes can be stubborn at times, I have found that the most direct, effective, and simple method of dealing with these obstacles is through positive prayer. In essence, we apply the principles of affirmative prayer to the very things that seem to be blocking our prayers in the first place. As ironic as it may seem, I have found this to be the most consistently effective tool.

With that said, let me share with you a simple prayer that I use when I run up against the sort of thing we are discussing in this post. If you are struggling with stubborn, deeply entrenched patterns of negativity, I encourage you to give it a try. Like all affirmative prayer, the key is to generate feeling in your prayer and repeat it many times. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were your subconscious impediments and imprints. Likewise, they won’t crumble in a day, either. Here is the prayer:

Releasing Negative Imprints

Through the healing power of the God’s One True Light, I now release all negative imprints and impediments in my body, mind, will, and spirit. I release these personal delusions and they are no longer part of me, nor do they create obstacles to the perfect application of the Divine Laws of Manifestation. I am now cleansed and perfected – I am healed, healthy, happy, and whole.

By the power of the Holy Spirit and in the sacred name of Christ, so it is.


© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Renewing the Mind: The Power of Affirmative Prayer

the Stainned Gless of depicting the Holy Spirit.Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

Renewing the Mind: Conscious Cognition and Affirmative Prayer

Throughout his letters, Paul repeatedly demonstrates his understanding of the importance of dealing with our minds. The Apostle clearly recognizes that the mind is where our behaviors and actions begin and he also understands that it is in the mental realm where the enemy is most likely to launch his most diabolical attacks. It is for this reason that Paul tells his readers over and over again how important it is for the believer to renew the mind.

At Sacred Mind, clients and visitors often here phrases and terms related to dealing with the mind in general and the process of renewing the mind in particular. In our training programs on “Strategies for Renewing the Mind” and “Who We Are In Christ,” we typically explore the importance of developing what we call Conscious Cognition. Basically, conscious cognition involves assisting participants develop the ability to be acutely aware of their mental functioning. The more conscious we are about out thinking, the more equipped we are to master our minds.

“Conscious Cognition” is based on the teachings of Paul regarding the renewal of the mind, tearing down strongholds, and taking thoughts captive for Christ. The actual practice of conscious cognition involves disciplines such as positive thinking, positive imaging, positive statements, and affirmative prayer.

We have found that the most fruitful exercise for most people involves what is popularly referred to as Affirmative Prayer.

How to Form an Affirmative Prayer

1. Affirm your identity as a child of God and a new creation in Christ.
2. Affirm your positive connection with the Divine and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
3. Voice your desired goal in positive, affirmative words in the present tense.
4. Express your gratitude for having your desire granted by God.
5. Close prayer in Jesus’ name with a firm and joyous Amen!

After your formal prayer session, your Affirmative Prayer process continues in three important ways. First, maintain a sense of positive expectation in which you faithfully believe your prayer has already been answered. This is not wishful thinking or a “fake it til you make it” pretense. Instead, it is the faithful acknowledgement that, just as scripture promises, your blessing has already been provided on the spiritual world. This brings us to the second manner in which your Affirmative Prayer process continues. You act as if the object that you prayed for has already been obtained in the physical world. What this does is aid in the process of bringing your already granted blessing from the spiritual world down into the flesh and blood reality of your daily life.

The third way in which your Affirmative Prayer session continues involves a personalized affirmation. This type of affirmation is a short phrase, usually gleaned from Step Three in the process described above. For example, if you prayed for an increased sense of confidence and courage, your personalized affirmation might be:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; I am courageous and confident in all my endeavors.

The important point here is to repeat this shortened form of your prayer session as often as possible. It is especially important to repeat your personalized affirmation when you first arise in the morning, and just before going to sleep. Another method that has been helpful for many Christ-followers is to coordinate their affirmation with their breathing, just as when performing “breath prayers.”

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (inhale)
I am confident and courageous in all my endeavors. (exhale)

I have found affirmative prayer to be an excellent modality of approaching our relationship with the Creator. As stated earlier, effective affirmative prayer is always based on scriptural promises. The actual process of affirmative prayer as described in the preceding paragraphs is not designed to remind God of his promises. God does not need to be reminded of anything. Criticizing the method of affirmative prayer based on the “reminding God” notion is a mistaken and futile practice.

Affirmative prayer does help remind us of our need for God, our utter dependence upon God, and of the generous blessings he has already provided for us. With these thoughts in mind, let’s look at an example of an affirmative prayer that meets the criteria laid out above.

I take possession of the reality that I am a child of the Living God and a new creation in Christ. I acknowledge that because I have been adopted into the family of the One True God, His eternal light shines in me and through me, casting His presence and His love onto a dark, hurting world. The Holy Spirit, a full one-third of my Heavenly Father lives in me, making me powerful and whole, capable of doing great things for the glory of God.

Therefore, I go forth each day with confidence and courage, meeting the challenges of life with faith and optimism, knowing that the Lord is within me, equipping me for any circumstance.

Lord, I thank you for your presence within me, beside me, above me, and in every circumstance, and I am especially grateful for your gifts of courage and confidence, the very things I requested as I approached your throne.

With love and gratitude, I pray these things in Jesus’ most holy name, the name at which every knee shall bow. Amen…

Remember also that the abbreviated form of the prayer is:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; I am courageous and confident in all my endeavors.

I have found that for both the long form and the short form, repetition is the key to success. Our bad habits of thought were formed in the exact same way as we, along with the Holy Spirit, will go about forming new habits of thinking that will move forward the process of renewing our minds. Each time we repeat our positive affirmations and our affirmative prayers, we make a little progress toward our goal. We repeat it, and we move forward a little more – and on and on it goes. The good news here is that we can soon begin to see change taking place and that change, no matter how small, is significant. When we experience the fact that change is possible; when we see through our own experience that we are actually making gains – this provides us with the ability to live in hope and optimism.

As time passes and we remain faithful in our practice, the pace of change accelerates. Our friends and associates will notice that we are somehow different. Even if they can’t put their finger on exactly what has changed, they know that for some reason you are easier to be around. Whereas before you often greeted them with a flat expression and a diverted gaze, now you approach them with a smile and look them in the eye. And guess what, my friend? This opens a door for you to share the source of the “new you.” As you continue to manifest the fact that you are, indeed, a new creation, you will have increased opportunities to share how this all came about.

Renewal of the mind, as Paul pointed out, is the key to an effective walk of faith. If you have been ignoring Paul’s insistence of cognitive renewal, why not get back to it? And if you have been avoiding this teaching, why not push yourself to get on with it? Your progress will be minimal until you place a renewed mind in the new you, the new creation.

Also, I suggest that you keep in mind the goal of all this work toward the mind’s renewal, as well as other disciplines in your program of spiritual formation. You want to get to the point where, as the Apostle, you can say with confidence the four words that best describe the state of the truly transformed Christian’s life:

Not I, but Christ…

© L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Divine Hologram: Christ's Cosmic Nature (Part Two)

Symeon_the_New_Theologian (ortodox icon)Image via Wikipedia

L.D. Turner

As thinking Christians, we all need to pause and prayerfully consider the implications of this small but powerful verse. We must reflect upon the philosophical and existential ramifications of what Christ has accomplished and how all of this plays out in our daily lives as Christians living in the 21st century. For starters, we can say, along with Paul, that it is within the body of the Cosmic Christ that we “live and move and have our being.”

During the time that Christ walked the earth, his original band of disciples enjoyed intimate closeness with the Master. During the 40 days following the Resurrection, that level of intimacy continued. There has been much debate within the church over the nature of Christ’s body following the Resurrection, but the real issue here is the fact that the disciples were able to have continuing closeness with Jesus. Now, in our time, we also can partake of that divine intimacy due to the action taken by Jesus as described in Ephesians 4:10. Christ, through interpenetrating all aspects of creation, has made himself accessible in a way that even the early disciples were not privy to. The fact is, if our spiritual eyes are open, we can see Christ everywhere.

If scripture is indeed “God-breathed” and is to be believed, then the intimacy we now have with Christ far exceeds anything those who lived before his Ascension could have ever imagined. Even more, this closeness with Christ is as close as our own heartbeat. Christ infused the entire universe with his being, turning all reality into a type of spiritual hologram. The Master penetrated everything, including you and me. When I first really grasped this reality, I mean really took hold of it (or perhaps it took hold of me) – it was like someone slapping me in the face and screaming, “Wake up.” I can safely say my life, although still far from perfect, has never been the same. In her remarkable book, The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault shares the following poem, penned by the 11th century Greek Orthodox spiritual master Simeon the New Theologian:

We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ. He enters
my foot and is infinitely me.

I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly
whole, seamless in his Godhood).

I move my foot, and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous? – Then
open your heart to Him.

And let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body

Where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him.
And he makes us utterly real.

And everything that is hurt, everything
that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably
damaged, is in him transformed

and recognized as whole, lovely,
radiant in his light.
We awaken as the Beloved
in every last part of our body.

I encourage you to spend quality time alone with these words from Simeon the New Theologian. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes and grant you the same manner of vision as the poet exhibits – the kind of vision that will allow your spiritual heart to open like a flower before the sun and grant you full understanding of what holy scripture means when it says we are “in Christ.” Personally, I think our human understanding , no matter how advanced, has only scratched the surface of the true meaning of this simple phrase – in Christ. Taken in context with Ephesians 4:10, the ramifications are mind-boggling.

What we can say with certainty is the theme discussed above – that of deep intimacy with Christ in the new, vivified cosmic hologram. Through his final act of self-emptying love (Greek kenosis), Christ has filled the entire universe with his character, his being, and his selfless love. We also have been filled with that same character, that same being, that same love. Just as we live in Christ, Christ lives in us. Again, our comprehension of these mysteries is minimal but fortunately, we don’t have to understand it all to reap its benefits. Through faith we partake of this divine hologram, or as Peter tells us, the divine nature.
Our intimacy with Christ remains as deep and as profound as always. Cynthia Bourgeault explains:

.....our whole universe is profoundly permeated with the presence of Christ. He surrounds, fills, holds together from top to bottom this human sphere in which we dwell. The entire cosmos has become his body, so to speak, and the blood flowing through it is his love…..mystical visionaries have tended to claim that this “pan-cosmic” saturation of his being into the deepest marrow of this created world was the cosmic cornerstone turned in his passage through death. Without in any way denying or overriding the conditions of this earth plane, he has interpenetrated them fully, infused them with his own interior spaciousness, and invited us all into the invisible but profoundly coherent energetic field so that we may live as one body – the “Mystical Body of Christ,” as it’s known in Christian tradition – manifesting the Kingdom of Heaven here and now. Jesus in his ascended state is not farther removed from human beings but more intimately connected with them. He is the integral ground, the ambient wholeness within which our contingent human lives are always rooted and from which we are always receiving the help we need to keep moving ahead on the difficult walk we have to walk here. When the eye of our own heart is open and aligned with this field of perception, we recognize whom we’re walking with.

… be continued

(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved
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