Back To Basics
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Back To Basics

Back to Basics

Having served the Lord for most of my life (minus a period of temporary insanity in my early teens!), there were Christian “basics” that were instilled in me from early on. These were drilled into me. They were reinforced. I was encouraged to do them. Praised when I succeeded. And I was reminded of them frequently. Simple principles.

To be kind.

Do to others as I would have them do to me.

Admit when I was wrong.

Turn the other cheek.

Be quick to forgive.

Love others.

As I got older and my relationship with the Lord deepened, the concepts behind these principles developed, expanded, and matured.

Compassion should be given along with kindness.

I should also give others the same benefit of the doubt that I wanted to be given, keeping what I knew about their heart in perspective rather than simply judging motives.

Real repentance was vital, as well as seeking to correct and change my behaviour.

Turning my cheek was also not keeping a record of the sins committed against me.

Forgiving quickly is often required again and again and is given to those deemed “undeserving.”

And loving others meant loving others the way I love myself, loving even the unlovely, and loving with HIS kind of love.

In adopting the name “Christian” I was declaring that I was a follower of Christ. That I needed to exemplify His character and heart. My wants no longer took precedence over His, nor could my will supersede His will. Others would judge Him based on my example. If I presented a poor reflection, His reputation came into disrepute. Galatians 2:20 became a revelation for me because I finally understood this truth: 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

And learning to act in the “opposite spirit” became one of my most challenging undertakings as a follower of Christ. Because it’s just WAY too easy to respond to anger with anger. To respond to being wronged with unforgiveness. To allow brokenness in others to create brokenness in me.

But with Him helping and empowering me, I can respond to doubt with Truth. Responding to fear with faith suddenly becomes possible. I’m able to respond to bitterness with forgiveness. And respond to hate with love…

Walking the way Christ walked was my goal. Jesus understood that He could do only what He saw His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. And if I claimed to live for Him, I needed to have the same mentality… I can only do what I see Jesus do – what our Father does. If you don’t see an example of Him doing what you are doing, there’s no justification for your actions. Serving Him is not a free-for-all to do whatever makes you happy, holding unforgiveness in your heart, or anything else you try to justify.

Because if you are children of His light, you need to walk like you belong to the light.

I remember a bank commercial on TV I saw shortly after moving to South Africa years ago. A father was walking along the shoreline… his feet sinking deeply into the sand. Behind him, walked his young son, who was taking extra, large strides to make sure he walked in his father’s footsteps. This created an incredible visual for me that I will never forget – I need to be just like that young boy, being super careful to walk JUST where He walks. This will keep me on the path. And I won’t lose sight of Him because my focus is being just like Him.

Philippians 3:12-14 is definitely my heart –

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

We need to get back to the basics. These are the foundations of serving and following Him. It’s not about me or what I want…  And it’s not even about others. It’s about giving Him glory in every area of my life. And if I keep to the basics, I’ll do just this!!!

Be kind.

Do to others as I’d have them do to me.

Admit when I was wrong.

Turn the other cheek.

Walk in forgiveness.

Extend love.

(Un)Friendly Fire

(Un)Friendly Fire

“Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.” 1 Corinthians 16:14


There’s a saying I’ve heard for a while… “The Christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.” This statement may not be 100% accurate if you want to get legalistic… but that is my point!


So much legalistic, self-righteous criticism is “cloaked” in the disguise of “wanting truth to be known”. The art of decimating one another is a skill that has been finely honed in the Body of Christ. There’s no need for an “enemy” because we do an amazing job of criticizing, breaking one another down, and mocking other Believers, ministries and the like. We rejoice in their downfall, rather than coming to a brother in love and seeking restoration – being someone who extends healing.


We are inundated with articles and posts criticizing “performance-based praise and worship” or tearing down a worship leader or songwriter because he writes sub-standard lyrics (although many of his songs have blessed me tremendously)… Or we take delight in “ministries” aimed at exposing all the heresy it finds in other ministries… calling a certain ministry’s praise and worship “hype”… attacking ministers and totally negating the powerful impact his call to prayer has had and will have all because you don’t agree with his theology 100% or say he’s not qualified.


I’m so over that. The enemy does not need to even use unbelievers to divide us because THE BODY causes separation and hurt and pain and bitterness and unforgiveness and division and brokenness upon itself…..and it’s done in the name of righteousness.


While I recognize that there is a place for conviction, repentance and reconciliation – so often my heart is grieved because we’ve replaced those with condemnation, shaming and penance. One has love as it’s motive, the other is driven by bitterness or hate.


I wish I could eradicate every post that comes up in my feed that is negatively motivated, so that I wouldn’t even be tempted to read articles aimed specifically to bring disharmony and disunity. Why do we perpetuate this stuff?? If we see a ministry in the throes of a major crisis, do we pray that as little damage would be done to God’s work, or do we rejoice because they “had it coming”?? What’s our heart???


I’m waiting for the real Body to start truly emulating Love, and demonstrating His attributes. That’s what the broken world is looking for… not self-righteous Pharisees, but real men and women who are not perfect. Ones who love Jesus and are willing to extend that love and healing to others the way it was extended to them… What would our impact be then?


It all starts with Love – capitalized for a reason! From my vantage point, it sure doesn’t look like Christianity is winning this war. Ask yourself: am I building up or trashing someone else or a ministry? Your honest answer tells you which “side” you’re helping…


This world needs a real representation of Jesus.


Are you, am I, ready to be that to this lost and dying world?

Elohim

Elohim

I have been studying the names of God lately – this week I studied “Elohim.” 

Elohim means Sovereign Creator. It is the first name used in the Bible for God. In studying creation, you can notice one thing. When he created something, he spoke it and then it happened. When we look at other ways Elohim was used in the Bible, it has incredible meaning. My favorite being in Ezekiel 37. 

Ezekiel 37:1-10 NKJV  

“The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” 

So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” (Adonai Elohim) 

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Elohim) to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” 

 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Elohim): “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ”So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” 

Elohim has the power to do it himself alone to make dry bones become man, but he chose to partner with us to see his work done. To think that Elohim the mighty creator would want to partner with us to see things done is incredible. 

When we partner with Elohim, we see dry bones come to life. We see what was broken become restored because he is the Mighty Creator, the Sovereign Lord of our lives and the One who loves us and wants to partner with us to see His works happen.