Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heavenly Minded

It's funny how we have these phrases to express what it is we really want to say. Some years ago a friend said to me, "We can be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good."
Have you ever heard that phrase before? There is some merit to it. What they were saying is, we don't want to be so "spiritual" that we "live in the clouds" and avoid living in "reality". There can be a tendency to "live in the clouds" so much so that our feet are not on the ground. No one relates to a "flaky" Christian - you know the type: always looking for the next supernatural sensation, yet lacking in character and integrity in day to day life.
That's not who Christ is, and as "Christians" we are called to represent Him as He truly is.
It is true, we don't want to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Fair statement. Yet let's look at this from another angle just to bring some balance. What "minded" do we want to be? What mind does Christ want us to have?
Let's be honest, while some tend to be too heavenly minded, there are far too many "Christians" that are too earthly minded. To which I say, "We don't want to be so earthly minded that we are of no Heavenly good?"
We do need to have our feet on the ground, yet we also need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus, and our heart, spirit and mind set on the things above.
How else can we be "in this world but not of it"? (paraphrase of Jn 17:15-18)
"Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world... my kingdom is from another place.” John 18:35-37
There is a greater Kingdom to which we are called to serve, while here on earth.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:16-18
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power." 1 Corinthians 4:19-21
We are called to live life here on earth, yet from a heavenly, Kingdom perspective.
"...God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 2:5-7
We are seated with Christ in Heavenly places! How in the world do you do that, and still live here?
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-4
With our feet still "on the ground" we are somehow called to have our hearts, eyes, spirit... "in the clouds" so to speak. We are called to live in heavenly places here on earth... a wild concept if you stop to think of it...
"God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise..." 1 Corinthians 1:26
I'd say He did!
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD." Isaiah 55:7-9
That is quite the understatement. God's ways are much greater, higher, and far reaching then ours could ever be. He is the Creator, we the created!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, and we are seated there with Him! WOW!
"...He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." Eph 1:19-21
Seated in Heaven with Christ, high above all evil forces... WOW! Sounds "Heavenly minded" to me!
As if that isn't challenging enough, look at what Jesus tells us to be about recorded in John 14:12:
"Very truly I (Jesus) tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12
Think about that. WOW! What did Christ do? He Loved people, He did what the Father said to do, He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons... He did many miracles, signs and wonders... He obeyed the Father (even onto death)...
WOW! How are we doing?
It sounds like Jesus has called us to live higher!
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-3
OUCH! Looks like we, as the Body of Christ, have some renewing to do if we truly want to represent Christ?
There is a higher way of living that Christ died and rose again for us to experience here on earth. There is a greater purpose Christ has for our lives than just getting by, being "successful", self-sufficient, and leaning on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Our Creator has a greater purpose and desire for His creation! He desires for His will to be done and His Kingdom to come here on earth as it is in Heaven, through His people who are seated with Christ in Heavenly places!
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:9-13

Here's to being so Heavenly Minded that we do the earth some Kingdom good!
Enjoy The Journey!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Is waiting hard for you too? For something I have spent a large part of my life doing, you would think I would be good at it by now. Is that even possible? Let's admit it, waiting is tough! Some things, like pregnancy, have a painful waiting period (not that I have experienced that first hand :-), yet there is a timeline for delivery. Other things, like destiny/purpose/calling, may not be as physically painful, but can hurt deeply when there is no known deadline associated with the waiting period. Waiting, no matter how you slice it, is rough!
I find myself weary in the wait. For twenty some years I have been waiting for things promised. While I have tasted some fulfillment of these promises/dreams, I still wait for the fulfillment of the things God spoke years ago.
You may have read my last Blog, "Living In The Now" - That's how I have learned to endure the wait; however, I still have longings yet to be fulfilled, and if you have felt "longings" before you know how painful they can be. Yes, I am learning to live today, while still holding hope for the promise of tomorrow.... Yet, waiting is tough! How you learn to endure the waiting process is important, but the longings remain a painful reminder until the promise is met.
Could you imagine, moms, being pregnant yet having no idea when the baby will be born? Rough! That's about how I feel spiritually at times - pregnant with purpose yet with no known deadline for delivery! Ouch!
Like it or not, there is a waiting period for God's promises as He prepares us for His purpose. As I experience this pain of waiting, I recall words a friend shared with me about 18 years ago: "You can say ouch, but don't ever say stop!"
There are some drastic illustrations of this. I read this article about the US Navy Seals ("BUD/S Training" "Hell week is a test of physical endurance, mental tenacity and true teamwork where 2/3 or more of your class may call it quits or 'ring the bell'. Physical discomfort and pain will cause many to decide it isn't worth it... Sheer fatigue and sleep deprivation will cause every candidate to question his core values, motivations, limits, and everything he’s made of and stands for. Those who grit it out to the finish will hear their Instructors yell the longed-for words, 'Hell Week is secured!'"
Drill instructors constantly yell in their ear offering incentives to quit: "All ya gotta do is ring that bell and you can get a room in that hotel...". At anytime, you can quit. This is to assure that only the best make it to the end.
While it may not be that physically extreme in God's "boot camp", it can feel that way mentally and spiritually at times.
I for one refuse to "ring the Bell!" I may say "Ouch!" but I will not say "stop!" Though painful, I will continue to yield to God's hand of molding and shaping. I say, "Father have your way!"
Imagine what Abraham and Sarai went through: They are perfectly comfy in the land of their relatives when God says "Go to the Land I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Abram obeys... He and Sarai go from place to place, tent to tent, thing to thing... no land. When they finally see the land of Canaan, there are giants occupying the land. They go to Egypt for years during a famine and Abram almost gives up his wife (God redeems his mess)... At last, after years of waiting, Abram and Sarai enter the promised land! Time too celebrate, right?
Weeeell... God tells him to look at the stars, "So shall your offspring be."(Genesis 15:5). God promises him a son!
Many, many years go by...
If you have ever waited a very long time for a promise from God you understand what happens next: Genesis 16:1-3 "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.' Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived."
OOPS!!! Ishmael was born. As they say in the commercials, "Don't try this at home!"
The Book of Galatians says this: "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise." (Gal 4:22-23)
In our time of waiting, it is way too easy to "birth an Ishmael". The thinking goes something like this: "God promised... it sure has been taking a long time... maybe I am supposed to do something to bring it to pass..."
Ishmael is that which is born of the flesh. Isaac, the promised son, is what is born of the spirit as a result of waiting on God! I have heard it said, "if you birth an Ishmael, you have to change Ishmael's diapers, but if you wait on Isaac, God takes care of what He births." How many "Ishmael" ministries have we been a part of? Yuck!
God is looking for those who are willing to endure the wait in order to birth that which is of him. Any takers?
An instructor at the Institute of Ministry I went to 20 years ago warned us: "When God has a call on your life He will first give you a taste of what He has, then He will lead you in the desert to "test you, humble you, show you your heart... so that in the end you won't say 'look what my hand has done' but you will give all the Glory and honor to God." (Duet 8) Then, once the wilderness/preparation process is complete (different for each of us), God then brings you into the fullness of what He called you to."
Waiting is painful, but seeing the fulfillment of God's Promise is well worth the wait.
Just ask Joseph, who endured slavery and prison before becoming a leader of the world. Ask Job, who lost everything to end up with twice as much in the end. How about Joshua? The dude saw the Promise land as a youth and was ready to go in, but the turkeys with him talked everyone out of it! So he had to endure 40 years in the desert. Ouch! Yet, in the end, he was the one to lead God's people into the Promise Land (see Joshua 1...)!
You see, when you wait on God, and go through the painful waiting process, you come to realize that the only way the purpose could come to pass is if God Himself does it! How else does a prisoner (Joseph) become a leader of the world? How else does Abraham and Sarai have a child way past childbearing age?
"What is impossible with man is possible with God." Luke 18:27
So what do you do while you wait?
What did Joshua do while he waited? "The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent." Exodus 33:10-12
When the waiting becomes grueling, I remind myself of what this is all about. The key to waiting is sitting in God's presence.
Waiting is tough, but one day it will be well worth the wait!
God is preparing His people for His Glory!
Enjoy The journey!