The Encouragement Of The Double Rainbow Over Washington D.C.

double-rainbow-over-dc-pano-july8_livingstonOn July 8, 2015 a serious natural storm was bearing down on Washington D.C.  As the weather folks stated, “Nothing much came of the storm, but the double rainbow that immediately replaced it became the star of the show.

Here’s what I believe.  The 777 Urgent Call to Prayer Initiative spearheaded by Ruth Graham Lots a week earlier was heard.

Multiplied Thousands Nationwide Responded

You may feel like this is just a coincidence, but as a Jesus Follower, I don’t worship a god named, Coincidence.  Multiplied thousands nationwide responded to the 7 day prayer and fasting initiative.  In concert with that call came the beginning of the “If 7:14″ tour with the books author, Bob Vanderpladt and the musicians, The Newsboys. (Learn more here)

A Storm Was Moving In

A literal severe natural storm was moving in on the nations capitol.  I believe, in context, that was a natural metaphor for what has been happening in the invisible world of spirit.

The Storm Was Replaced

rainbow-washington-dc

For some time, calls have been going out about the dangers facing our nation spiritually and for the need for serious prayer.  I do not believe previous initiatives have been for naught.  I believe everything works together for good.  I believe that the first serious prayer for a reviving of God’s people began it’s work of being heard in Heaven.

Apparently, at least in my opinion, the most recent intercessions reached a tipping point.  And, God responded with a promise much like that to Noah.  The covenant rainbow.

The Lessons To Be Realized

There are probably several.  I would just like to point out a few that are the most obvious to me:

  1. God does respond to prayer.  Even when it seems He may not be responding, know that He is working in the invisible places and we need to keep persisting in our response to what He calls for.  Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.
  2. The “prayer connection” is vital to the promises of God’s words being fulfilled.
  3. National governmental crisis has been averted.  I do not believe this necessarily means that everything is smooth sailing ahead.  But, I do believe that the main thing is the main thing and prayer is vital on a personal level and a national level.  I heard an Evangelist say one time that he was questioned about why a wonderful revival that had started had dissipated.  His response was gold.  He asked, “What were you doing when it began?”  The church responded, we were on our knees in fervent prayer.”  He added, “Then I would say you should have stayed there.”   It is classic in contemporary life and biblical times that once circumstances take a turn for the good and the pressure is off, that seeking God becomes more lax.  We must continue focusing on with a daily prayer initiative for our own lives and for government issues – both local and national.

What It Doesn’t Mean (IMHO)

I did a teaching on Sunday morning, July 7, that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a promise to America of governmental revival and healing.  But, instead, the only authentic way to apply this Hebrew land promise to us today is on a “personal land level.”  We must individually humble ourselves before God on a personal level, for ourselves first.

However, having said that, I do believe that the Lord loves the natural land of His people that live there (including any country you might name).  I do believe that His people on the most basic levels of leadership (or none officially) are potentially a wall of protection when they are submitted to God first.  Submitted (not in words only) but in observable action.  As someone said, “The man runs fastest who runs on his knees.”

I know really good, sincere people who believe the answer is getting the right people in political power.  Bob Vanderpladt said at the “If 7:14″ gathering in Davenport, IA, “I do not believe the the person on Air Force One is what will bring revival.  I hope Air Force One is a part of it, but the right person on the plane is not what the promise is about.”

Righteousness exalts a nation.  I believe that.  Righteous men and women in office have the potential to do great things for their country.  I also don’t doubt that involvement in the political scene is what many men and women are called to.  But, I also believe the power source in getting them there and keeping them there (unscathed and pure) is much more of a spiritual initiative than a natural “best guy for the job in my opinion” natural political initiative.

We need to have righteous people in office to be a Godly influence and bring Godly wisdom.  However, the Washington Power Beast” has proven to corrupt many good men and women.  It’s not their “right politics” that keeps them there.  [Right politics in your opinion].

Regardless of what you, my reader, may think of Pat Robertson, (and I am not an advocate of everything he believes), he was quoted as saying something at the time he was running for office.  He said that he was actually glad that he didn’t make it through the primaries.  He said the forces in the political arena were far more powerful and destructive than he had imagined and that it may well have destroyed him.

It’s About The Concerted Personal And Corporate Prayer Initiative

I said it in the above words.  Nothing much to add to that.  So, I’m going to end with a prayer:

Heavenly Father…I believe you have set in the sky an encouragement and I so thank you for it.  Now, may you give us the revelation of heart of where our priorities, regardless of our gifts and callings, lay.  Motivate us by Your Spirit as we see the roots of how we can better respond to you.  In the fame of Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Please respond with your thoughts…

Gary

 

The Delicious Bible – Page 4

Listening-Phone-Systems-SupplierKnowing what the words in the Scriptures meant when they hit the ears of their original listeners will cause you to better understand how the Scriptures are helping you, today.

Often Jesus would finish His teaching of the moment with these words, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Obviously he wasn’t referring to the appendages on the sides of the listeners heads.

A very important prayer in the Old Testament is “Hear Oh Israel.  The Lord our God is One.” 

We normally think of “hearing” as being able to discern the sounds of words, or music.
But the Hebrew word Shema (shma) translated to English as “hear” means a great deal more than that.

To Understand Or Perceive

Genesis 11:7 says, “Let us go down and confuse their language so that they will not be able to (Shema/hear) each other.”  There are times will the context of the story will dictate that shema means “to understand.”  Actually, many contemporary translations have already translated shema as understand.

To Agree With And Act Upon

When Sarah came to Abraham with a plan to give him a child since it didn’t seem like the promise of God was going to happen for them, it says that “Abraham heard the voice of Sarah. Although this is similar to understanding, it takes on a different shade of meaning.  In this case shema or heard means that Abraham agreed with his wife and decided to go along with it.

To Not Agree Refusing To Act Upon

Similarly to Abraham, Joseph’s story with Potiphar’s wife includes the word shema in how he responded to her.  In this case he heard her, but he did not agree with her words and refused to act upon them.

To Acknowledge With A Positive Response

Many times you’ll see the phrase, “The Lord has heard your prayer.”  That doesn’t mean that He’s heard your words and is considering them.  Instead, He is favorably answering them.

Obedience

Almost always when you read the word obey in the Scriptures, the Hebrew word behind it is shema. To the Hebrew mind, “to hear” included what was going on in the mind as well as the resulting actions.

Having ears to hear is dealing as much with our response to the Word of the Lord as it is to listening and simply agreeing that His words are important.

Our Own Children

Actually, what we’ve explained here is not that foreign to our ears.  When you give direction to your child such as, “Clean your room,” – and they don’t – what is the next thing you say?

“Didn’t you hear me?!”

You’re saying the same thing as the Hebrew meaning.  You are not asking if the sound of your voice registered on their ear drums.  You are expecting Bobby or Sally to do what you just said.

May we respond to the Lord’s words.  They are life and they are health!

(To be continued…)

Gary

Check out the previous pages in this series: (Click) Page 1    (Click) Page 2    (Click) Page 3

 

 

 

 

Penetrating The Peril of Mediocrity (An Abundant Life Lesson)

Job-searchThe abundant life that Jesus promised is free and will be experienced by those who refuse to stop when things are not fast and easy. 

Fast and easy is a deception of our current age of deceptive false advertising.

The barrier to advancing to a better place is described in one word:  Frustration.

Well established statistics prove that the FEELINGS of FRUSTRATION is the major contributor to “stalling out” and returning to “what’s known.”   Unfortunately, “what’s known” doesn’t have the fuel to keep one moving forward in life.  It’s safe, and it’s….known.

Why would you return to the known?  Most would say something like this, “It may not be the best, but I’ve learned to live okay without (this or that). 

Contentment is good, but this is not that.  This is satisfaction with a well worn and wearing out life.

Nothing has ever been gained that had “abundant life worth” that didn’t have the sweat of frustration embedded in it.

The abundant life that Jesus promised is free, but it’s not cheap.  It most often costs the frustration and effort of learning something new…because…learning is not learning if it’s only information in the file drawer of one’s mind. 

Learning becomes actual learning when it is accompanied by the forward movement of attempts to perform the “truths.”  And attempting again…right on through guaranteed levels of frustration.

THE GOOD NEWS:  Frustration won’t live forever.  It will become increasingly weaker as skill begins to increase.

And that will equal a new level of abundant life.  

If you’re in a place where you are attempting to learn a new spiritual life skill (or any skill), and you are frustrated and thinking about quitting….Man up….Woman up.  Frustration is a part of the cost….

But increased abundance in your life is worth the cost!

Gary

The Delicious Bible – Page 3

father-hugging-son-rexThe beginning of the really good stuff in one’s life is the fear of the Lord.  Actually, without it we will continually find ourselves in muddy messes of our own making.  However, the devil – aided by religion – has led us far astray as to what the fear of the Lord actually is.

It can mean “to be afraid.”  However, the Hebrew word for fear has a much broader meaning.

The Boy In The Picture Fears His Father

The boy in the picture is demonstrating the “fear of his father.”  His father is the lord of his life.  He loves, respects, and trusts him.  But, he is not afraid of him.  This kind of fear is building a powerful bond between them.

It’s the same in spiritual terms.  The intent of the instruction of the Scriptures to fear the Lord is not the idea of “be afraid of the Lord” as we typically identify the meaning of fear.

Religiously instructed naysayers will retort, “Sinners need to be afraid of the Lord.  It will help them not sin.”   Temporarily.  Maybe.

Loving Respect Conquers The Desires Of The Flesh

Although fear of consequences might deter someone from sins of the flesh for a time, it doesn’t last.  But loving respect permeates our inner attitudes and is much longer lasting.  Fear, as we normally think of it, is temporary.  Deep respect runs deep and saturates the soul in a way that fear can’t touch in human and spiritual relationship.

Worship And Awe

The attitude of worship and awe also describe the fuller meaning of the fear of the Lord.  In fact one way of expressing the fear of the Lord using a contemporary phrase would be, “I worship the ground you walk on.”

The Source Of All Good Stuff

It is the deep daily nurturing of intimate respect for the Lord that causes us to want to be like “Daddy.”  When we want to be like daddy, we begin to benefit from His wisdom and knowledge.  We find our attitudes and actions rooted in a craving to know Him.

That, my friend, is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of everything

Before You Leave….Check out Page 1 Here.   Check out Page 2 Here.

Gary

 

 

 

 

The Delicious Bible – Page 2

child3-worshipDelicious may sound like a strange adjective to describe the Scriptures.  However, I’ve found it to be highly accurate as a description.

Since this is the second installment in the “delicious Bible” series, you may wish to check out the first page here.

Delight Yourself In The Lord

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Especially In a culture of consumerism, a person will often see the last part of the phrase as their primary motivation… “Receiving the desires of one’s heart.”  And to tell you the truth, we all want to experience fulfilled desires.  Perfectly normal.

To better understand the thought of Psalm 37:4, it’s helpful to use an example from a healthy interaction between a parent and child.  Imagine the child in the picture is you child or grandchild.  Feel the tenderness that passes invisibly between you.  How does the warmth of that emotion affect you?

One time I was praying and I saw an inner picture of a small child kissing its father on the cheek.  I asked the Lord what the vision meant.  He said, “That’s how I feel when you come sincerely to me.”

Here’s where this verse of the Bible gets more delicious.  You see, the Hebrew word translated delight is a bit different than the English idea.  When I originally read that verse I thought of delight in terms of a concept.  To me it sounded like the Psalmist was saying, “Be pleasing to the Lord and He’ll give you your desires.”  That isn’t totally wrong except be pleasing is still a concept and sounds a lot like the sermons where you end up feeling guilty about this or that bad behavior and if you try harder you’ll get more prayers answered.

Be Like A Tenderhearted Child

Once I saw that the original Hebrew word for delight meant to be soft, delicate, or tender, I could imagine, ponder, and look deeply at the picture of a child being tenderhearted with their parents.  I imagined my own reactions to my children when they were tenderhearted vs. when they were obstinate.  It was easy to feel the difference in emotion and response toward them on my part.

Tenderness absolutely drew a “giving” response from my heart.   It’s true that I loved them all the time.  But, you and I both know there’s a difference in how one makes you feel over the other.  Imagine arms lifted in tenderness toward you.  Then imagine reaching down to pick up your child and they respond with a cold, “no!”

“Be tenderhearted, soft, and pliable with the Lord, as your Father.  It will delight His heart and bring about a tenderhearted response toward you.”

(Delicious Bible Continued)…

Gary

 

 

 

The Delicious Bible – Page 1

deliciousHow much more enticing and fulfilling would your experience with the Bible be if it were NOT seen as academic brain pinching labor? (Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing.)

What if you anticipated your “Bible time” the same way you look forward to something delicious to the taste?

Second Question…

conversationHow much more would you look forward to devoting time to daily prayer if you saw it with the same anticipation as a stimulating conversation with a close friend?

God never intended that the two primary sources of relationship with Him (bible and prayer) would become a lifeless, guilt driven,  tasteless experience it’s become for so many.

Your Bible And Prayer Experience Can Be Transformed

Over the next several posts, I’d like to introduce you to some ideas that will help inject new life into your own experiences with the Bible and Prayer.  I’m not promising easy.  I haven’t completely arrived, myself.  However, I have made some discoveries that have launched me into a whole new arena of life with God.

I Stopped Studying The Bible

Yep.  I stopped studying the bible.  I traded in the idea of “studying the bible” for “searching for treasure.”  Sounds like I’m mincing words.  Maybe I am, but the “mindset” was important to my progress.

I Knew There Was More To Be Found

I became unsatisfied and bored with just scratching the surface of profoundly deep truth that points the way to the abundant life we seek.  I also decided that I couldn’t be satisfied with letting someone else chew all of my spiritual food for me.

So, I decided to use tools easily accessible via computer, smartphone, or an ipad type devise, and “bust open the books” and begin digging for hidden treasure.  You may already know what I will be sharing in the next several articles.  But, if not…hopefully this will help you search and find your own hidden treasures of abundance.

Let’s Take The Word, “Persuaded.”

My understanding of faith was injected with fresh life and richer depth when I discovered more elements behind the Bible word (Greek) “Persuaded.”

I discovered that it has more shades of meaning than to be convinced of something.  The Greek word is also used in the idea of making friends with someone.  And, it also contains the meaning, “tranquilize.”

I made the discovery on http://www.blueletterbible.org/

The essence of faith is being persuaded that all your life is bound up in the heart of God.  He is the Source of every solution.   Faith focuses on Him.  That focus of persuasion or conviction is the doorway through which His creative might flows into your circumstances.

Faith Is A Word Of Relationship

So, as I “chewed” on the phrase, ‘I am persuaded,’ I came to a richer understanding of faith.  I let the brushes of my imagination paint inner pictures of what it is like to pursue making friends with God and the Words of His mouth.  As with any good friend, I realized that the presence of a friend introduces a sense of peace (tranquilize).  The more I pondered and searched out practical visual applications, I saw how much the Lord yearns to be a friend that de-stresses my experiences with daily turmoil.

Now, I don’t study for doctrinally correct definitions.  I search for ever clearer descriptions of life with God.

And the sum of that is more stimulating conversations with Him.

(to be continued…)

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Speech Includes Prayer

Prayer 4 FreedomWhen I say, “Free Speech Includes Prayer” some will take me to mean that I’m saying that free speech includes the right to pray when and where a person or group desires.  That it should be within our realm of God given rights in a land of freedom. 

However, that is not the focus that concerns me as I jot down these few thoughts.  Because, you see, the freedom of prayer can never be taken from YOU.

We have a self-contained prayer sanctuary within our very beings.  It’s an invisible tabernacle that no power in heaven nor earth can legislate against.  It’s an inner chamber that only the individual, themselves, can silence.  It’s also the interior room that, by personal neglect, is full of spider webs and dusty drapes for too many.

It is often heard by the sincere activist that freedom will only be achieved by those who do more that “just pray.”  To that I heartily agree!  I also enthusiastically agree with John Bunyan who is quoted as saying,

      “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until after  you have prayed.”

I also agree with the Chronicler who stated, under God’s inspiration…

   “If my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked way, I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Free Speech Includes Prayer – Begins With Effective Earnest Praying

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much [in the dynamics of it's working]” (James 5:16.)

Effectual prayers of fervency must echo from the inner sanctuaries of the men and women who raise their throats in protest.  Otherwise the outcries will come to nothing more than death rattles falling on lost ground.

Once we’ve fervently prayed (not bitched to God and everyone who will listen) about the outrage of our national circumstances, we will find ourselves on ground where God can work with and for us.  Not before.

Last Thought:  God is smart!  When He says that national healing takes place when His people humble themselves and prayer and turn from their own wicked ways, He knows what He’s talking about.  It can’t be improved upon, nor side tracked.  I don’t care how right you may be in your words of outrage and protest.

Gary

 


 

Mental Logic Of Faith vs. Living By Inspiration

breathing-deepWe have the privilege and God-given instruction to “walk by faith and not by sight.” 

I tried that for many years.  I attempted to learn how to apply that to my life.  I would occasionally wonder why my “faith steps” didn’t seem to work very consistently.  I memorized the Scriptures.  I “declared and stood on them” to myself, others, and the devil.  But, then I made a discovery.

Walking By Inspiration

Although 2 Corinthians 5:7 (“We walk by faith and not by sight”) seems pretty clear, I wasn’t really correctly grasping the heart of its meaning.  In actuality I was attempting to engage the mental logic of faith.  I would read or quote scriptures and the various teachings I had learned.  I would then attempt to declare and command myself into a kind of “reasoned out” faith.  We, of course, have intellectual capacity.  In some way it’s always functioning.  At least we hope so :).

However, I needed a shift – a reorienting – in my process of thinking.  I began to realize that the substance of faith is born in the spirit world and not from the logical processing of anyone’s intellect.  In fact that “realization” was actually a revelation of the Holy Spirit.  It was not “my” brilliant thought up idea.  The Holy Spirit “breathed” that into my spirit and my mind picked up on the “sound of His breath” and translated it into words that I could understand with my mind.

Faith Is Spirit Matter.

From that point on, I began to learn how to listen with the ears of my spirit to sounds of the Holy Spirit breathing within me.

The Word of God tells us that the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit is through inspiration.  Inspiration literally means “God breathed.”  That is why I now say that I’m learning to live by inspiration.  

Let me clarify:  When I say that I’m learning to live by inspiration, many will repeat back to me,

“Yes, brother.  We must believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God!  And, I do live by that truth.”

I don’t only believe that the Bible is the inspired (God breathed) Word for me to depend upon. I know it’s “God breathed and profitable…”  But, the profit isn’t in trying to convince myself with powers of mental logic that it’s Truth.   I live by the reality that the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures, is the same Holy Spirit who is still breathing in me today.

Understand me clearly:  The daily sounds of His breathing will have the same sound as the Breath of the Scriptures.  But, let’s get real.  It’s easy to say that the Holy Spirit will never contradict the Bible.  But when we say that to people – although true – most of us don’t have a complete mental grasp of the totality of the Scriptures.  But, our spirits do perceive the sound of His breathing. 

The “tone” of fresh inspiration will not contradict what if “feels like” as you read the Scriptures and let the Scriptures read you.

Another Helpful Illustration

It’s really not a mystery.  You and I already know how to listen with our hearts instead of with our minds.  We automatically do it when we engage in a meaningful heart-felt conversation.  When we are conversing in the attitude of debate or defensiveness, it’s a battle between each other’s intellects.  When we care about the other person and want to know how they are feeling and what they are meaning, we listen with our hearts.  [You know the difference.  At least I hope so.]

So…let me put it this way.  In a heart-felt conversation, you are listening for the sound of the other person “breathing.”  You’re listening for their heart sounds.

It’s the same principle as we listen for Holy Spirit breathing within the center of our being.  It’s the same focus.  Practice that and you will grow in learning how to live by inspiration.

Since, I’ve had this re-orientation of walking by the breath sounds in my heart rather than the logic of my mind as my guide, I’ve had much more peace, and much more wisdom in the journey.

“Continually be transformed (improved from a lower to a higher state) by the renewal (re-orienting) of your mind” (Romans 12:1)  Change the focus of where you believe your power originates and live by that.  Let your spirit infused with the Holy Spirit tell you “what’s up.”

Gary

 

Returning To Our First Love

princeofpeace13What do you crave?  What is it that brings you lasting satisfaction?  Or…have you found many things that are momentarily sweet (like cotton candy); Things that ultimately leave you unsatisfied and allusively hungry…for what you’re not sure.

I’ve been there over and over again.  My vision still occasionally slips.  I get distracted by the most current “truth.”  Or, I momentarily slip back to focus on stuff that I’ve already realized, previously, falls short of true satisfaction.

Andre Lefebvre is a Facebook Friend.  He’s an excellent Psalmist, and we’ve had several enlightening social media conversations.  I saw a post of Andre’s recently that echoed truth in my heart.

     “I betrothed you to one Husband…and His name is not revival, His name is not the end-time move of God, His name is not Baptist, His name is not Methodist, His name is not Catch the Fire, His name is not John, it’s not David, it’s not Steve, it’s not Sally or Rachel – His name is Jesus.  I promised you to Him, and to Him along”  (David Ruis on 2 Corinthians 11)

The first thing I want to state is that I realize that “labels” are simply that.  Labels.  They help us to identify subsets of belief systems and people of like mind.  And, used in this manner, they are not necessarily bad in themselves.  And, my intention is not to be snarky. 

The thing that tugs at and resonates in my heart is that it is so easy.  So, so, easy to replace the person of Jesus with labeled identities.  I think the reason is because most of the labeled groups promote life giving truths about Him.  The Apostle Paul had the same issue with the Corinthian church.

“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?”  (I Corinthians 3:4)

“Am I not a mere human being?  Umm…yes, aren’t I?”  Apparently not.  Apparently one whose been born from above and given an eternal spirit and claims to follow Christ as his or her Leader is no longer “wired” to be a mere human being.  Therefore, we need to take care not to act like one.  Mere human beings get their identity from the groups they identify with.

Us…the “other class” of human beings are designed to get our identity from Christ, Himself.  We are also now “wired” to function as He would function.

Here’s the deal:

Jesus doesn’t associate Himself exclusively with the group with which you or I identify.  The scriptures display an example of Christ Jesus as one who embraces truth where ever and with whom ever it is located.  Jesus can often be found on the other side of the line that “mere humans” have drawn in the “us vs. them” distortion. 

I don’t believe that Jesus can best be found in any one sub group, denomination or ministry of the Church.  The entire Church is His body.  Each has it’s function according to Scripture.  No one part is better or more true than the other.  Therefore, in the same way as we should – and do – respect each part of our physical bodies, we must respect (I didn’t say tolerate) each other and worship the Head.

Okay, okay.  So you have personal body parts you don’t like so much.  :)  But, let’s get real…you respect it if it’s under the threat of pain or injury.  You may not appreciate some parts as much, but in very real ways you respect ALL of yourself.

We are promised to Christ, our Bridegroom.  May our chief belonging be to increasing personal knowledge of Him.  Not just stuff about Him.  May our primary pursuit and passion be to respect and find truth where ever it may be found.  May we also venture outside or “belief boxes.”  By the help of Holy Spirit, may we “belong ourselves” to Him. 

There are no substitutes that will bring abundant life!  Only direct identification with Him, personally…Our Primary Love!

Maybe…just maybe it’s time to grow up in Him rather than in our own group or ministry.  For real.  Not just because it’s the right thing to say.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  We’re in this together.   Please reply in comments.

Gary

 

 

 

Why Evangelism Often Fails And How To Change That

OK-Namaste-1 When I use the word, evangelism, I am defining it in broader terms than you probably expect.  Instead of narrowing the definition to the spreading of Christian doctrine, I’m including the energy behind promotion of anything you or I consider truth.  Besides the classical Christian idea, it would allow for ideas of healthy nutrition, proper child rearing, to political agendas.

Spoiler Alert:  We are visual people and you might assume that the picture in this article means that I’m going to be proposing that a lack of prayer is the cause for failure and more prayer is the solution.  “Praying Hands,” right?  Nope.

Everyone believes that their emphasis in any of their proposed areas are right, or “the most right.”  You and I may actually be right or “the most right” on any specific topic of importance.  But may I first suggest that a by-product of what the Bible calls “the flesh” is abundant in life.  It crisscrosses topics and cultures.  The flesh bows at the throne of “Being Right.”

It’s not anybody’s ambition to “be wrong.”  There’s no virtue in that.  Truth is truth and right is right.  And, I have been right too many times when I’ve actually been wrong because of the attitude behind my arguments.

Although we wouldn’t like to admit it (because a good debate can certainly feel good and on rare occasions actually influence changes in a few people’s thoughts, it more often creates a “winner/loser” divide.  It enforces an “us/them” mentality.  One that may not have even been intended.

With me, it’s not because my positions of truth have been wrong (in my imagination, anyway).  And, I certainly didn’t want to cause yet another “me/them” divide.  But, something inside of me would raise it’s ugly head with a self-deceiving righteous mask.

I just had to prove that I was right.  It rankled me (my flesh) to be opposed.  And let me tell you, once the “I’m on the right side” battle starts, there remains very little room for each party (or observing parties) to even be understood.  People begin interpreting each others words based on their own biases.  Major Fail!

So, now to the image (above) of what was thought by many to be “Praying Hands.”   It’s actually the image of a practice called Namiste.  You’ll often see it in oriental cultures.  In fact Namiste is a part of Hindu influenced practices.  (Now, if you are a Follower of Christ, your antennae just shot up.)

Chill.  I’m not suggesting that anyone adopt a Hinduism belief system.  I do not agree with Hindu spiritual propositions.  However, Namiste, in it’s most basic definition means, “I bow to you”  Hinduism has extended the idea to “we bow to the god in each other.”  That is not what I am proposing…(read on)

However, at it’s essence, there is a humility and respect for the individual that is being promoted and I firmly believe that is Christ-like and much of the solution to extensive failure and relational injury in evangelism (both Christian and other life truths.)

If the person you’re talking to actually feels like you respect them and that you sincerely want to hear the heart of why they believe what they do, then they will be far more open to hearing your position.  Sowing and reaping.

Do you want to win arguments/debates or do you want to win souls?  Because you see, even when you are “winning your point” you’re touching the sensitivities of a human soul.

Whether your “evangelism” involves Christianity, life and emotional/physical values, or politics, the larger picture will only be successfully won a “soul bite” at a time.  Trampling with truth will never result in genuine wins.  As I said in a Facebook status update at Easter, “Resurrection life follows the most right person’s choice to die to the demand of being right.”

And that’s my thought for today.  AND I’M RIGHT D*%M IT! :)   Okay, that’s……umm…well if I have to explain the tongue in cheek, I’ve probably already lost, eh?

I’d love for you to chime in.  Reply or comment!  

Gary