Power in the Presence


Today, I have had eternal life and power on my mind and heart. Even this morning on my walk, I had the prayer on my lips: "God has not give me eternal life; He has given me himself, and HE IS LIFE!" That is to say the Holy Spirit does not give power, the Holy Spirit is the power within me. 

Romans 6:9-11 says, "Death hath no more dominion over that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God."

When I finally lay down my own life to be dead to who I once was, the gift I receive is not a new life. The gift I receive is the very presence of God in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is life and power that now resides within me. Any power or life I receive cannot be separated from God's presence or utilized apart from Him because the life and power IS Him. 

When Jesus says in John 15, "Remain in me as I remain in you" I am reminded that the eternal life I have is in this in-dwelling of Christ. That is to say life is in the very presence of God. Power is in the presence of His Spirit, and that presence is at the center of who I am.

When I live in connection and entanglement with that presence, there is power and life in my days. When I am disconnected and distracted, I live my days with less power and life than is actually available to me.

Ends and Means

Shot glass with a pair of wedding rings

Matthew Henry writes, "All who are chosen to happiness in the end, are chosen to holiness as the means." 

I have had this quote in my head for a couple weeks now. There is a great reminder to us in a culture obsessed with happiness. Over and over again we see people come through our doors prepared to end commitments and covenants because someone has told them, "Don't you deserve to be happy?" This very thing has lead to the breakdown of our lives, and it has lead us also to our addictiveness. 

This is the very nature of addiction. Things are addicting because they always leave you wanting more, and they destroy you all along the way. They cannot fulfill you. Whether it is sex or substances. Whether it is more stuff in our closets, driveways, or pockets. We are addicted to these things when we think the only important thing is our happiness, and we start to believe these things will make us happy. And they do…for only a moment. That is the very point of these things; to only make you feel good and happy for a short time so that you want it again. Do you have something you desire and crave more than Jesus and a connection with Jesus? Do you see how CRAZY and absolutely LUDICROUS it is for me to desire and crave anything more than I crave a loving real connection with Jesus Christ?

The Life of Pc

I once read Life of Pi; a book about a guy whose family is lost on a giant sinking cargo ship that was taking he and his family from India to Canada in order to begin a new life.  The author brings you along with Pi (short for Piscine) on the lifeboat he was lucky to get to after the ship sank.  As if that were not terror enough, also seeking refuge on the lifeboat are a slowly dying zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan, and a giant tiger all left from the zoo Pi's father owned in India.  His father was bartering the remaining animals so the family had a decent start in Canada.

At one point in my reading, Pi had been in the open Pacific Ocean on the lifeboat for almost 4 or 5 days now.  The hyena had eaten the zebra and attacked to kill the orang-utan.  The tiger had just killed the hyena, and Pi fears every moment whether he will be next.  Will he die of some other means?  Will the sharks get him first?  What would he do IF the tiger did attack him?

I went to bed that night!

I wonder what will happen to Pi?  Furthermore, what if all the novels we read are actually some distant reality actually happening and solely dependant on my finishing the story?  What if somewhere somehow Pi really is just sitting on a lifeboat in outrageous fear, and if I had put the book down never to finish after Monday night he never would have found the canned drinking water, ration, and a checklist like you would find on one of those team-building exercises your boss brings to board meetings?  "You and 3 of your co-workers are stuck on a desert island, and you only have a box of matches, a can of water, a pencil..."

What if Pi were really awaiting my finishing the book?  I mean Yann Martel (author) wrote the entire book; it has an ending.  But what if somewhere Pi was really stuck on a lifeboat with a giant tiger and he did not know there was an ending?

Moreover, what if Pi knew there was an ending, but my reading to it is the only way to reach the ending?  I think Pi would be pretty pissed at me for going to bed last night.  He's probably pissed at me right now while I'm writing this while I COULD be drinking my coffee and reading the darn book.

I say to Pi, "You know what!  There's an ending written for you, and we will get to it in good time.  Just wait!"

"PC, shut up!  Just shut up!  I am the one stuck on the lifeboat with a ravenous tiger looking for human dessert."

"Pi," I say with agitation, "there's still plenty of book left, and the book is entitled, 'LIFE of Pi.'  I am sure you get out of this.  Just be patient.  I am a working man.  I cannot read all day.  I will read tonight.  Just wait!  It will be fine."

Then I come out of my distant land of Pi and into the reality of PC.

God says, "PC, you know what!  There's an ending written for you.  I wrote it, and we will get to it in good time.  Just wait!"

"God, shut up!  Just shut up!  I am the one down here with bills, a job, a marriage, a family, school, a ministry and Satan waiting behind every corner for PC dessert."

"PC," God says with tender agitation, "there's still plenty of LIFE left, and I have titled it 'LIFE of PC.'  I am sure you get out of these things.  Just be patient!  I am a sovereign God, and the author of your life.  I will get you through your life as I have written in.  It will be fine."

Soaking vs Snapping

Ozzie Chambers says, "It is the innermost of the innermost that reveals the power of life." Our spiritual power and purpose is only found within. This means that the majority of our time should be spent in the private life with God. How much time do I dedicate to my private life with God? Where does our strength come from? Do I have any strength at all? When I spend enough private time with God in my innermost being, I find what Ozzie says:

"strength lies in the fact that here you are put into SOAK WITH GOD."

I love that phrase; that image. Have I been soaking with God? Only when I take the time and space to soak before God will I ever have the inner strength that comes from it. I have to find the private time with God on a regular basis where I can sit and SOAK BEFORE GOD. This is the only way to go about life, and this is the way faith and Christianity is meant to be lived out.

"if you waste your time in over-active energies instead of getting into SOAK on the great fundamental truths of God's Redemption, you will SNAP when the strain comes."

I look back and realize how true Ozzie is here. I can look back to see the most straining times brought two reactions from me depending upon whether I had been having my private time with God regularly or not. Had I been soaking with God during those times? Well it can be determined based on whether I snapped in those moments or not. Had I completely broken down when life kicked me where it counts? Had I nearly given up?

OR did I go through it faithfully and with trust?

When life kicks you where it counts, I hope you have been SOAKING BEFORE GOD so you do not SNAP.

The 4 keys to soaring in life

When you fly somewhere there are a few questions they ask you at the airport. If you hope to really fly and soar in life, there are a few questions to answer.

Where are you headed? Do you have baggage to check? How much does your baggage weigh? Are you carrying anything for anyone else?

Lyrics Week: Mumford & Sons

"Where you invest your love; you invest your life."

The sense of the eternal is palpable in this song (Awake My Soul) and particularly in the lyric:

In these bodies we will live. In these bodies we will die. Where you invest your love; you invest your life.

Our bodies and our circumstances are only temporary, and the only things which last are things like love, faith, and hope. Of course the things we worry most about are rarely the amount of energy, time, and effort we put toward love, faith, and hope. We can nearly kill ourselves with the amount of energy we expend on the things which will always fail us because they simply cannot last.

Once your body dies, there will be no remembrance of the amount of hours you spent at work. The numbers on the scale you fluctuated through will reveal how pointless they always were. Even if you are buried with them, those gadgets you fought so hard to acquire will be older than antiques and just as worthless.

Once your body dies, those who knew you will speak aloud of how much you loved. Under their breathe, they will speak perhaps of the lack of love you gave.

The only sad thing of this thought is if I think upon that and choose not to make the comments under the breathe be the same as those spoken aloud!