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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Believe . . .

Belief is so important, and so is Perception. Both, however, tend to make reality a relative concept, and have absolutely no effect on what is actually True or False. Truth stands regardless of what goes on around it, or what we believe or perceive about it. It just is. It is factual to the nth degree . . . and farther.

In the current hurricane of opinion and relativism, Truth remains unmoved, unbending, and unaffected. However, when everything else is moving and shifting, we can get caught up with the current wave of thought, and lose our vision. It is because of this lack of focus that we sometimes have trouble discerning Truth. This is why it is so important to have a proper foundation of thought and focus. Our beliefs and perceptions must be founded on Truth, otherwise we lose the race before we even start our engines.

Recently, I had additional cause to examine my Belief System. Someone, who has been reading my blog, suggested that I may have some foundational issues based on my writings. I am open to constructive criticism, which I know this was, and thought about their comments long and hard. In fact, I really appreciate what was said, because it reminded me that my writings are always based on my perception and beliefs, and those perceptions and beliefs are not always placed on the page for all to see as the foundation for my comments. I stand by my words that I've written, but am aware that they can be viewed in different ways based on (once again) different perceptions and beliefs. So this became an opportunity to review my foundation, to examine whether or not my Belief System is founded on Truth.

Here is what I've come up with so far (off the top of my head):

I Believe

-There is one TRUE God above all gods, Creator of Heaven and Earth and all there is.

-In Jesus Christ, His only Son, who died and was resurrected from death to (1)Pay our debt in full as a complete propitiation, and (2)Heal our broken hearts, thus giving us complete wholeness for living an abundant life in and of His Spirit within us.

-That our hearts are healed by the redemption of Christ, but that our minds must/will be changed over time by the Spirit's leading. Repentance = A change of Mind. I believe this is what Romans 12 is talking about. We can surrender all to Him, and should, but the value of total surrender is solely defined by what we actually know to surrender. In my life this is a continuous process. God leads us and shows us by revelation the areas of our minds/beliefs/perceptions that need to surrender to Him. He is so patient with me! Through my daily sacrifice of my will and by the faith He has given me, I am being transformed to show what He has made me for, as a part of His perfect plan.

-That God is indeed know-able, but only as far as He reveals Himself through the Word and the Spirit. This again, is a process that He leads us through . . . and I'm convinced that this process will last forever! That's how unfathomably deep He is.

-That we have an enemy. He is the prince of this age, and seems so powerful compared to our physical strength. It is important to realize, however, that his wickedness is not to be placed on the opposite spectrum of Gods' Holiness. My father used this riddle to prove this point when I was a child. "Black is to White as Satan is to _______ ? Everyone I've asked that question of has answered "God". The answer is Michael the Archangel(a powerful angel who has battled Satan in the past. Some believe he is the angel mentioned in Revelation 20, who throws the dragon into the abyss). Yes, we have an enemy, and we must fight him, but we must never equate him as an equal opposite to God. Nothing is or can be.

-That denominational religion is an overall absolute failure because we have ended up focusing on each other and our personal preferences for ministry instead of being led by God's Spirit to love the world and present the true Gospel. The word denomination means "walled fortress" to me, a place that creates a great separation between believers, let alone the huge chasm between the church and the lost. We are divided as Christians because of this. I have yet to see two churches communicate and work together without these "walls" playing a powerful role.

-In the total inerrant Truth of Scripture, and its absolute viability in any circumstance or time period.

-We live in a fallen world that God is constantly redeeming to Himself. Christ's death not only started His redemption in us, but cemented the process of "using all things for the good of those who love Him". Our planet, our ecosystems, our circumstances, and our personal lives are all used for His glory and our good!

-We reap the rewards of our actions.

-People are extremely valuable. It doesn't matter what you've done, what you look like, what you believe, what your perception is, how we feel about each other, how we see God . . . we are all extremely valuable because He has placed value upon us. No other reason suffices. He loves us regardless of . . . anything. We are valuable to Him, therefore we should be valuable to each other.

-Everybody is on the same level when it comes to spiritual opportunity and worth. No one is better than the other. Rich or poor, popular or behind the scenes - God loves us all. We have to have that approach to be effective in ministry. Always remember where you come from, what you've done against God, and how He's forgiven you.

-Our beliefs affect our thoughts, which in turn affect our choices, which in turn affect our actions. Belief Systems are incredibly powerful, which is why Jesus tells us to repent and believe the Gospel. . . The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Turn around and welcome the Kingdom of God! Change your mind and see the Kingdom at hand! Base your Belief System on Truth . . .

-I am a total failure but for God's grace. I've proven it true! I am constantly learning about myself through His amazing patience and Spirit. I can do nothing good without His blessing.

-That faithfulness is the key to being blessed. Do what is righteous no matter what the circumstance. God searches for the faithful. He blesses those who are are. This directly ties to the principle of giving. The more you give, the more you receive.

-I am able, through God's help, to live faithfully, for His glory, at each decision point of my life.

-That my issues with God (yes, we all have issues . . . admit it!) are a direct result from my limited view of His will and overall picture. I used to allow my issues to build walls between us, but He has shown me that I need to use those issues to actually build a bridge of discussion instead of a wall of silence. This belief alone will most likely save my soul. Silence = No relationship, and a prolonged focus on the issue, not Holiness. Discussion = Relationship and the ability to learn and conform to the image of Christ.

-I am loved.

-I love you.


© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Caught In The Middle?

I am constantly amazed. We know so much about our fallen nature, yet still struggle so heavily with the idea of Self vs. Selfishness.

If you really think about it, there is a constant un-civil war going on in our souls (our minds, insight, emotions, and wills). Everything around us tells us to either "man up" and take charge of our destiny, or to give up and give in to fate. We are being tempted . . . by pretty much everything around us.

How do we live "in" the world and not "of" the world? I think I have a pretty good grasp of this concept, but then God shows me more of my true Self He wants, and the current regime doesn't line up very well . . . I'm trying to control my control, and find myself having issues with my issues.

This song blew me away this morning:

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender
without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense

Deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle

With eyes wide open to the differences,
the God we want and the God who is

But will we trade our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle

Are we caught in the middle

- Casting Crowns ("Somewhere In The Middle")

We have failed to trust Him with everything. Logically, it makes perfect sense to surrender ALL to the God who wants and gives the best for us. But we still struggle with our flesh, with our need for control. We still want to call the shots.

God gave me this verse earlier this week:

I Peter 1:13-17 - "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth."

I am deeply convicted. I am ashamed. I repent.

I surrender.

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008