Last night Robert spoke at Xcelerate about having a different spirit as it was related about Daniel in Chapter 6. Here's what it says about him in verse 3:
Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Robert's main point was what is our spirit all about? What do others see in us when they look at us? And, is our spirit holding us back from becoming what God really wants us to be? In truth, we are in control of that spirit, there is everything inside of us to be successful, but if we are not, what is stopping us from getting there?
Maybe we project entitlement, possibly selfish pride, or a lack of confidence in our abilities. Could be we have screwed up so many times that we are stuck in, as he described it, second gear and afraid of success. Or, others are so bent on destroying us that we rely on what they see in us rather than what is actually there. We lack the confidence to move out of gear to the next one.
Maybe if we consult the ultimate authority, God himself, we would see that there are many verses in scripture that talk about his confidence in us and our ability to approach him with confidence. It is a two way street built on a relationship with him, like Daniel's, that even helped him survive a lion's den which symbolizes to us what fire we may be in now that can be overcome with a faith forged in that fire.
Once we walk through the maize of a confused spirit we come out the other side as a polished, loving, confident, compassionate spirit that reflects the image of the God who made us. In fact use this illustration as to who you can be:
Made in the US of A - the Unbelievable Salvation of the Almighty. That's who we are, that's who he intended us to be and that's the spirit that changes the world for the better. A different exceptional spirit!
Let's get out of gear and go live it!!
You may be reading this thinking he just misspelled rehab, but no, this is about a member of the faith hall of fame, Rahab the prostitute. While many may wonder how a harlot is enshrined in Hebrews Chapter 11 with folks such as Moses, Abraham and other legends, she herself should tell us something about God.
At the Statue of Liberty these words are a powerful welcome to those coming to America, Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. They could very well be the words of the Lord as he opens his arms to us to join him on a journey to freedom. Or maybe the title to a Clint Eastwood movie would fit here, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
There is such a misconception in the world of Christianity as to who is called to serve as an example to others. Yes, it is certainly exemplary to be good, and we don't want to lift up the bad behavior as a model, or consider those blessed to be pretty to be better than those considered ugly, but the fact is that is what drives our thinking as to what a good Christian should be.
But Rahab, or the woman caught in adultery, or the five time married woman at the well who exemplify badness turned out to be superstars in the Bible as an example to others such as you and I. God is really excited about goodness, the ability of those with life long pursuit of righteousness, but he is also just as excited about lost sheep and prodigal sons who come home.
What that means to you and I is that no matter how far out we have been, no matter how ashamed of what we have done, no matter how many people have scorned us or put us down, Jesus opened the door for us to find a seat at his table. As crazy as that sounds, we may also have a seat next to Rahab who is part of God's rehab.
And then we will really know the truth, that truth that has set us free!
One of my favorite TV programs was "My Favorite Martian" and as for a hilarious comedy "Mars Attacks" was at the top of my list. We make fun of these things but we as a society are always curious about the possibility of Aliens among us or coming from another planet.
Reading through the Book of Deuteronomy this word is mentioned numerous times in reference to strangers or those who have no interest in God, or those from a foreign country. As harsh as the Old Testament can seem to be aliens it says, are to be treated with respect and love. Read this and judge for yourself:
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Deut. 10:18-19
For some reason that irritating noise made in Mars Attack by the aliens, (AAAAKKKK AAAAKKKK) came to mind as in it irritates us sometimes to be in the presence of modern day aliens of non-believers, people not like us or from another country entirely. Those in addiction are often treated as Aliens and of course we put ourselves in that position and admittedly, often seem like we just came off a flying saucer.
But I like that verse 19 where it says "for you yourselves were aliens", reminding them, and us, to never forget where you came from when looking to treat others like the Lord would have us do. It certainly takes us out of our comfort zone but the rewards of helping another human being to be valued and cared for far outweigh the risks of stepping out in faith.
Of course any movie where Jack Nicholson plays the role of President may seem foreign to us, as would sitting next to a heroin addict in church for some, but in the end we need to ask ourselves what the source of direction in our life is? Is it His or ours?
See V18....he loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. Something to think about.
For so many of us our greatest fear is of being abandoned. When we need somebody to help us get through a storm, when we marry or have a boyfriend/girlfriend will they stay with us? Our issues with this come from childhood, our own lack of self-worth, or multiple failures as an adult. But God......
Here's a great quote from my Life Recovery Bible: To be able to to turn the rest of our lives over to him, we must know at a deep level that he will not become disgusted with us and throw us away.
Yes, he may very well be disgusted with us, but he won't abandon us. Rather we may have to endure some form of discipline out of love, but there is always forgiveness in his heart. How do we know? First let's look at the O.T. for a quote from Deuteronomy 2 from the 40 year journey of the Israelites to the promised land: Those forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.
Despite their disobedience God did not abandon them. Then in the N.T. pick of many examples including the woman caught in adultery (forgiven when everyone wanted to stone her), Zacchaeus (despite being a hated tax collector that skimmed money) who Jesus wanted to eat dinner with and later forgave him or maybe Peter who denied him, cursed him, yet became his lead Apostle.
Or, the apostles who were on the boat in the storm while Jesus was sleeping. When they woke him up they asked did you not care about us? His response "Oh you of little faith" then he calmed the storm. Of course he cared, of course he would not abandon them or us, ever - he is not like other humans who have hurt us.
Rather it may be that our faith in him has been abandoned. When we feel all alone, left to ourselves to handle life nor a situation, that's actually when he engages us the most. After all the complaining, doubts, rebellion and lack of faith, this is what the Lord said to those Israelites:
But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace (insert your own situation here) out of Egypt (they and you will get through it) to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.
He didn't bring us this far to abandon us now. Who else does he have to tell his amazing story of redemption?
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.