Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanks Living

I write in on my arm in permanent marker Thanksgiving Day.  Because I need always to be reminded.

Eucharisteo.  It is a Greek word that means "giving thanks".

It is a compound word made up of the adverb, "eu", which means "to do well, to prosper"....and "charisteo", meaning "to give freely, to give in favor toward".  The root word of "charisteo" is "charis", which means "grace".

In Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, she delves deeper into the meaning of eucharisteo.  In Luke 22:19, when Jesus shares the last meal with His disciples before His death, we read,  "And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..."  In the original language, "he gave thanks" reads "eucharisteo".

Eucharisteo holds the Greek word for grace, but it also holds its derivative, the Greek word "chara", meaning "joy".  So we see then that grace and joy are inseparably woven into the fabric of thanksgiving.

On that night when He was to be betrayed, Jesus took the bread and gave thanks.  Knowing this bread was a picture of His body, this wine a picture of His blood, of His life broken and poured out, spilled out for us.  He took this offering of His life, in all its suffering, as a gift from God, as "charis"....grace.  Seeing the "chara", set before Him....the joy of our redemption, of the claiming of His pure and spotless bride.  And He gave thanks.  Eucharisteo.  On His darkest night, Jesus gave thanks.  He opened his eyes and His hands to grace.  He received joy.  And then He told us.

"Do this to remember Me."

Do what?  Eucharisteo.  Give thanks.  See grace.  Find joy.  The only way to live fully right where you are.  The way of those who live in Christ.  And we live in Him because He offered Himself up as our bread, and He gave thanks in His own breaking, and He saw the gift of grace in His pain, and He embraced the coming joy.  This joy our Creator chose for Himself....the restoration of unbroken fellowship with us.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln set aside one day a year as a national holiday of giving thanks for the abundant blessings of God on this land and its people.  And it's a fine thing to celebrate with a special day of feasting, fellowship, and worship.  In the Old Testament, God gave the Jewish people special festivals of celebration throughout the year, as times of worship and remembrance.  Sadly, for most Americans, I fear Thanksgiving Day has become a day to celebrate food, football, and the biggest retail holiday of the year.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus sat around a table with His closest friends, those who did the will of His Father and were thus, as He said, His mother and brothers and sisters.  They shared a special meal of remembrance together, and they passed around the common, everyday elements of bread and wine, symbols of life....and Jesus proclaimed that "as often as you do this....remember Me."  1 Corinthians 11:25.

As often as you eat and drink.  Every day.  Remember.  Every day.  Give thanks.  More than a tradition or a ritual.  It is life to you.  Every day is a day of giving thanks.  A day of living thanks.   And if we don't live our thanks every day?  We aren't really living.

Charis.  Grace.  Open your eyes today and see the gifts, the grace, the undeserved favor of God all around you.  Name them.  Write them down so you'll remember.  On a page,  On a screen.  On the wall.  On your arm.  Count to one thousand and keep going.  Don't stop.  Let the naming of grace, the giving of thanks, be like breathing.

Eucharisteo.  Give thanks.  Wherever you are today.  In the midst of your mess.  Give thanks to God simply for being God.  Give thanks for His life giving you life.  Offer your life back to Him in this moment, even in brokenness.

Chara.  Joy.  The miracle of deep, abiding joy always comes through the embracing of grace and the offering of thanks.  In the presence of God there is fullness of joy.  Psalm 16:11  Joy is God's life.  Joy is your life.  Augustine said, "Without exception...all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy".  God created us for joy.  And we receive that joy when we live fully in Him.

So have a joyful thanksgiving day.  A thanksliving day.  Remember.  Offer.  Celebrate.  Eucharisteo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reflections From The Outlaw Chronicles

I'm reading the Outlaw Chronicles by Ted Dekker.  One of my favorite authors.  He is a master of intrigue and suspense with an unbelievable imagination.  I simply don't have time or words to fittingly describe his writing, only to say that he has connected with me in a way that is helping me see things differently, particularly in this series.  He has a gift of planting deep spiritual truth in mind-bending stories.  I highly recommend his work!

The introduction is just so you can make a bit of sense from what follows.  This is my own reflections and working out with God the reality I'm learning to grasp through Dekker's story.  If you happen to have read the books, you will understand where I'm coming from.  And if not, it just might awaken an appetite!



I am Outlaw.

Dead to the law.  Dead to sin.  Dead to the world.

Alive to the ever-present now of my Father.


My true self is unbound, not held to the flesh or the restraints of time and space.  My true self is seated with Christ in the heavenlies!  I am held in Jesus, He in me, in this eternal now!

I can never be closer to Him than I already am.

He will never let go, never cast me out.  Nothing can ever separate me from Jesus.  I am safe.

I only wear this body, this costume, for a little while.  Time is nothing to my Father God.  The mind of insanity, my dead mind, would keep me blind and deaf to reality.  It screams that my Father does not love me, does not see, does not hear.  That I am of no consequence to Him.  It would keep me ensnared to this flesh and the madness enmeshed in the skin of this world.

But I am Outlaw.  Dead man walking.  The insane self is dead and I do not have to listen to her.  Most of my life, I have listened.  But I have a power that is supernatural.  Not bound by time, space, and flesh.  A power from my Father's dimension.  I can change my mind.  

I have the mind of Christ.  Truth.  Reality.

I am held in Jesus, one with Him in the eternal now.  Metanoia.   Repentance.  To change the mind. Let go of the insane, dead mind.  That one who keeps me confined to the costume.  Clinging to whatever she thinks will save her.  

Because in truth, I am safe.  Everything my dead self thinks is safety and security, everything she thinks she needs?  It's an illusion.  A mirage.  I can walk through any desert, and storm, any fire, any valley of death....and find it to be only a shadow.  I am safe.  Kept forever in my Savior.  Nothing can touch the real me.  Nothing.

I don't need to run into the arms of Jesus for comfort and refuge because I am already there.  In Him. And I can never be taken out of Him.  There are no limits of flesh her.  Time and space mean nothing to Him.  Only the forever now.

I.  Am.  Free.


I will forget.  I do forget.  Every day.  The mists of this world, of the Shadowlands, rise thick before my eyes; the demons scream delusions in my ears.  It lies heavy on me, threatens to drown me.  But only as long as I think that my costume is me.  Only as long as I listen to the mad babblings of my insane self.  

In TRUTH, in my Father's dimension?  I am free.  The troubled sea can only drown me if I allow it. 
I am Outlaw.  I can walk on water.  I can see a hidden dimension.  I can rise above this costume and walk free.

I live in LOVE.  I live in the LIGHT.

And I am light.  Love and light are in me, flowing through and out of me like a mighty river.  There is no dam holding back this river of life.  It is only an illusion.  The only release I need to let the river flow out of me into this to see.  Open my eyes wide, full of light, and see my Father.  See His reality.

The TRUTH will set you free.

Whoever the Son sets free is free indeed!  Free in TRUTH.  No strings attached.  I need only to change my mind and see that I am free.  Nothing holds me back.  Not in Reality.  No law, no costume of flesh, no mist of the Shadowlands.  I am dead.  Outlaw.  Outside the law of sin and death. This world has no power over me!  The evil one has no power over me!  I am with Jesus.  One with my Father.  One with the Spirit of Truth.

I am safe.  I am free.  I am Christ's.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Confessions From The Shadowlands


I'm not entirely sure where this is going today.  This is a spilling out of some of my muddled thoughts.  Trying to put some pieces together.  Aching to make sense.  But it may make no sense to whoever happens to be reading.  At this moment, I am writing because I simply need to write.

Something.  Anything.

Because there is so much inside crying out to be released.  To be opened to the world.  To be heard and to connect with some other heart.

Because I'm on a journey of so many unanswered questions and I'm wrestling and it's messy, like ink spilled all over the page, but writing helps me think.

Because maybe I need the accountability of writing something that someone will read, writing even when I think I have nothing to say, writing if only just to write.

Because it's time to probe the dark recesses of my mind and begin to form art from what lies dormant there, whether rational or irrational.  Something inside me is screaming to write.  It is time to stop pushing that something down and burying it under concrete chunks of doubt, fear, laziness, and this crazy whirl of life.  Maybe nothing makes sense now.  Maybe few will read or understand.  But someday something is going to click.  Someday the message the world needs to hear will come out.  God has put in me a fire that I ignore and squelch at my own peril.  I still don't know what He wants me to do with it.  But I have to do something.

And so I write.  If you are still hanging with me, dear reader, thank you for being so gracious.  Maybe these wanderings of my soul will connect with another soul today.  And maybe not.  Perhaps it will simply be the uncapping of a fountain that has been stopped up for too long.  It is clogged with dirt and dead leaves.  It may take some doing and a great deal of time, but the more the thoughts flow, the cleaner it will come out.  Eventually something of worth will be released.

So here you are.  Welcome to my mind.  I invite you to eavesdrop on the honest grappling of my heart with God today.

King Jesus, You are victorious!  You have overcome the world, death, and the enemy of our souls.

So rip away the illusion in which I live.

Show me how to open my eyes.  Show me how to see.

Help me let go.

I'm living in the Shadow Lands, held captive by illusions of my own greatness and yet, inexplicably intertwined, those also of my worthlessness.  Trapped in my own mind.  Bound by the entitlement complex.  Taken in by whispered delusions of the enemy.  Deceived into a ravenous desire for my own kingdom and glory.

But the kingdom and glory are Yours.

They have never been mine to attain.

Without You.....I am nothing.

Yet Your love chose to make me worth everything You had to give.
Your grace chose to make me a daughter of the Kingdom.
Your goodness allows me to play a part in Your story.

So show me the way to Surrender.  This letting go of who I think I am and what I think I need and what I believe keeps me safe.  This stepping out of my delusional boat of control and security to walk on water with You.  This living in Your is otherworldly.

What I see without faith is only two-dimensional.  Cloaked in shadow.

Jesus, Your reality is 3D!  It is more real than I have ever imagined.  And it is there for any who would see with eyes of light.  Full of light, liberty, and life in abundance!

This is Your kingdom.  This is my destiny.