Managing Personal Fame and God

Bill sings the blues Blues it up

Does My Work Give Credit to God?

“Knowing someone” has taken on a new dimension. Facebook and the internet make it possible for a person to spread themselves in many directions. I have to confess that I get a thrill seeing all my stuff pop up when I Google “Ramona Taylor artist”. But at the same time it bugs me when I meet someone who knows who I am and I am confident that I have never met them. I recently read an interview of Dakota Fanning she said often she would meet people who would say on introduction, “I know who you are.” Dakota exhorted that she would still like the opportunity to introduce herself. I think the ability to put so much of ourselves out on the social network, makes it possible to relate to what Dakota is talking about. While those who know Dakota may only know her by her public profile, it can be the same for all of us. And in a sense it can feel like a double life. (A real life and a media life).

I have to ask myself if I live a double life. Am I using the gifts God has given me for personal gain or for Him? It is when I am in this dilemma that I wonder if I am even being used by God.

So I put myself in check. Of course I am a sinner, to say otherwise would be lying, and I am reminded each time I sit in an award reception hoping for a prize, that my heart (motives) are often impure. I am unstable when I am seeking recognition from the world and the desire to Glorify God. Not that fame is bad.. (more…)

Radical Renewal 17: The Two Renewals

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’m not teaching psychology or some kind of weird, New Age religion. Instead, I teach transformation by renewal of the spirit of the mind (Ephesians 4:23) or radical renewal, which has implications that go far beyond any epiphany to a complete change of life – a reversal of course from defeat to victory in the Christian life. Furthermore, I teach that it can happen very quickly, almost instantaneously.

However, two kinds of renewal are taught in the Bible. One of them involves the change that takes place in the life of any faithful believer as they grow in Christ. In my opinion, this is the renewal that changes Christians from immature to mature believers. In other words, it’s like growing up. Paul talks about it in Colossians 3:10 and in II Corinthians 3:11 &4:16). However, when I write about renewal, I’m almost always going to be talking about the second kind – the Ephesians 4:23 and Romans 12:2 kind. That’s the kind that James discussed in graphic detail in his little book without ever saying the words “transformation by renewal of the spirit of the mind. In the passage that starts in chapter 4 beginning in verse 1, and ends in verse 10, the brother of Jesus spells out both the problem and the solution…

“What’s the source of the quarrels and conflicts among you? Isn’t the source your hedonistic pleasures that are waging war in your body? You excessively desire things and don’t receive them because you’re asking with wrong motives. You’re jealous but don’t get what you want, so you argue and quarrel. You don’t get what you want because you don’t ask. You ask but don’t get, because you ask with bad motives so that you can spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses (and adulterers), don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, anybody who wants to be a friend of the world makes himself God’s enemy,” (James 4:1-4, my paraphrase).

And then James gives us the solution to the problem.

“So then, submit to God. Oppose the devil and he will run away from you. Approach God and He will approach you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and clean out your hearts, you double-minded. Suffer and mourn and cry. Let your laughter be changed into mourning, and your joy to gloominess. Humble yourselves in God’s presence and He will lift you up.”

This is radical renewal boiled down to a few sentences. We’re the adulterers and adulteresses James was talking about. We have been unfaithful to God. We loved the world and it betrayed us. Naturally it would, because it serves its master, the devil. Do you ever wonder why churches split? James has given us the answer. We want our own way so badly that we even make divisions look spiritual despite the fact that God has told us to be like-minded and live in peace with each other (II Corinthians 13:11, I Thessalonians 5:13). But we don’t just cause divisions in the church. Our own hearts are divided. We really, really want that car, that guy, that girl, that job. God takes second place. Inside, we’re split down the middle of our hearts. Naturally, we’re miserable.

But James calls for us to radically renew our hearts, to clean out the old garbage, get the old, evil desires out of Christ’s home. And to do that he orders (not asks) us to submit ourselves to God, stand up in opposition to the enemy, seek God so that He can find us. He tells us to wash our dirty spiritual hands and clean out our filthy hearts.

But no one can do all that in a calm and orderly way. The brother of Jesus instructs us to suffer, mourn and cry. He wants us to stop laughing foolishly and start mourning because of our sin. Live the reversal of hakuna matata — stop laughing be sad. And as we truly humble ourselves in God’s presence, He’s going to lift us up. This is the second and radical renewal the Bible teaches. It’s what I and countless others have received. It’s not just learning to think right – it’s getting humbled so that we can be right. If you need radical renewal, just follow the recipe I’ve been spelling out in these blogs. But do it from your heart, and don’t wait. Time is short.

Radical Renewal 11: The Seedy Road To Renewal

At least one half of the reason people backslide has to do with faith. From early childhood on, we are assaulted by so-called truths about Christianity and our faith. Many of us succumb to them. We’re fed a line of propaganda about how evolution, not creation, explains our origins. The Bible is made to look like a book of mythology and silly stories. We’re shown Christians hypocrites in the media and made to feel like all Christians are that way. The Christian lifestyle is set up against the lifestyles of the rich and famous to make it look boring and ridiculous. The result is that we listen. We think, “Wow, that looks better or more true or more attractive. I’m gonna believe or do or follow that.”

Jesus was aware of our problem. In the parable of the sower and the seeds (Luke 8:5-15) He spelled out some of it. As you read that passage, notice that some of the seeds fell beside the road and the birds gobbled them up. Some fell on rocky ground, and the plants grew up and died for lack of moisture. Some of them fell among thorns, and the thorns choked out the growth. However, other seeds fell on good soil and produced a crop. As He went on to explain this parable, Jesus showed how people who hear the Word of God are the seeds He was talking about. I want to focus on the seeds among the thorns, because I believe they represent backsliders. “The seed among the thorns are the ones who heard (the Word of God) and as they go on their way they’re choked out by worries and money and the fun things of this life, and they can grow no fruit to maturity,” (Luke 8:14, my paraphrase).

The Apostle Paul also addressed our problem when he wrote about Christians who had fallen into the thorny ground trap: “But you didn’t learn Christ this way, if you’ve heard him and been taught in Him according to the truth in Jesus,” (Ephesians 4:21, my paraphrase).

What does all this have to do with faith? Simple. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). The thorns were able to choke us out because we weren’t properly taught, just as Paul said. So our faith didn’t grow and we brought no fruit to maturity. That’s why, if you’re seeking renewal through these blogs, one of the first things you need to do is get into a really good, Bible-teaching church (if you’re not already in one) – a church where the pastor is a man of God, and will listen when you go to him and say, “I’m seeking renewal. Can you help me?”

Truth is, most pastors can’t really help you at first, but they can learn just as I learned. I received renewal in a church service where the pastor was kind enough to let me get up before the congregation and confess the things that had choked out my Christian life. Although I’m sure he didn’t understand renewal, either, he was smart enough to get out of the way and let the Lord do His work. And while it may not be necessary for you to repent publicly like I did, it’s possible that you might have to, and you need someone willing to humble himself like that pastor, who will be willing to allow you to confess.

But that’s only after you recover full faith. Right now, if you’re seeking renewal, you are living in a painful state of doubt. You are what James the brother of Jesus called “double-minded” (James 1:8) which results in a see-saw lifestyle. The world pulls you one way while the Lord pulls you the other. You’re split right down your spiritual middle. Because of that doubt, sins that otherwise would have no effect on you have stuck to you and are tripping you up. The writer of Hebrews called them, “the sin that entangles us so easily,” (Hebrews 12:1). In order for the Holy Spirit to blow all that sin off you, so that you can get up and start walking again, your faith has to be restored. And to do that, your view of God and the Bible and who Jesus is, has to be brought back into correct focus. Over the next few blogs, that’s exactly what I’m going to try to do – help you see God and the Bible and Jesus as they really are. But while I’m doing that, why don’t you pray? Ask the Lord to remove your double-mindedness and re-open your eyes once again to Who He IS. Do it fervently, and not just once or twice. This is a prayer you need to be praying all through the process.

But don’t be impatient. I recovered most of my faith probably two years before I was renewed. If I had understood how to use it, I might’ve shortened the time to days rather than years. Hopefully, that’s how it will be with you. But if it stretches out, don’t worry. Just keep praying and learning.

Let me recap some of the things I’ve asked you to do. 1.) Pray that God will renew the spirit of your mind 2.) Pray that He will re-open your eyes to who He is and what He wants from you 3.) Make sure you are in a church where the pastor is mature and godly and will be willing to help you. If that’s not a possibility then seek out someone you know to be a mature Christian and ask them for help. 4.) Follow this blog. Use what the Lord has taught me to help you on your journey. You can do it! Don’t give up!

“Radical Renewal” — The Hidden Civil War. By: Doug Martin

As I write this, April 12, 2011 is only a couple of hours from its end. A hundred and fifty years ago, on this same date, America began its great Civil War with the first shot fired on Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

The war began because of two things: a.) the institution of chattel slavery, and b.) the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. Oh, State’s Rights were the excuse the South used, but the rights of the Southern states weren’t being attacked or taken away. No one was denying them the right to own their slaves, as they claimed. What was happening was that America was closing down around them, cutting off slavery from all other areas of the country. Without the possibility of further expansion, the leaders of the South knew that their most precious institution would die on the vine. And then Lincoln was elected. That was the last straw. He was from a northern state, Illinois, and was widely regarded in the South as being anti-slavery. So they trumpeted State’s Rights to attract sympathy; but the undercurrent was always slavery and Lincoln was the excuse.

So the leadership of the South lied about their motivations. No one was taking their rights away. They were attempting to deceive the nation and the world.

This is one of the most terrible symptoms of backsliding – deception. We find that to be true in the case of the most obvious radical renewal (transformation by renewal of the mind) in scripture, and it’s always true of those who hide in the church, pretending to be right with God when their hearts are far from Him. And if you think I’m criticizing anyone right now, be aware that I was a deceiver in the church for many years. In fact, I was so good at it that I even fooled myself. That’s why, looking back on the Civil War and studying the South’s leadership, we can see the self-righteousness of the Southern leadership for what it was – phoniness.

King David was a phony for awhile – long enough to damage his family, murder a good man and take his wife for himself. You can read about his failures in II Samuel 11&12. But he hid those failures well. No one spoke up or condemned him.

However, the day finally came when David was forced to confront his sin, was forced to own up to what he’d done. He did it openly because Nathan the Prophet confronted him with his sin and rebuked him on behalf of the Lord. To David’s everlasting credit and our benefit, the King repented on the spot and asked for God’s forgiveness, which he received. Afterward, his life reflects radical renewal in that he began pursuing godliness once again, and sought to live a righteous life.

In a sense, Lincoln was the South’s Nathan. He rubbed their noses in their sin, and they hated him for it. He didn’t do it intentionally. He didn’t point his finger and say to them, as Nathan said to David: “You are the man!” Instead, by insisting on Union, he told them they weren’t going to have their way, and their response was to rebel and bring untold suffering down on the nation.

When we backslide or move away from God, we are taking the very same position as the South. “I’m hiding my sin. I will not admit that I’m wrong!” But I am convinced that someday, like King David and the South, every backslider — churchgoing or not — will be compelled to admit what they’ve done. Jesus said that nothing is hidden which won’t be revealed, or covered up that won’t be made known.” (See: Matthew 10:26, Mark 4:22, Luke 12:2). And the Apostle Paul said flat out that this truth will apply to everyone (I Corinthians 4:5). This makes me think that there will come a time when the fruit of our lives will be seen – by everyone.

I hope that you’re not being a phony like David and the South. But if you are, there’s hope. God may not be blessing your life right now, and He may seem far away, but He still loves you and is trying to draw you back to Himself. Why don’t you go along with the program? Why don’t you say to God right now, “Father, I want this to be over. I want Your will for me, regardless of anything that might stand in the way. Bring me back to Yourself, Lord. All the way back.” Keep following this blog, I plan to show you that way. My best hope is that someday I’ll be standing there when the Lord looks down at you… and smiles

Believers need to avoid being double minded!

 

A double minded person is one who say one thing and do another, they claim to know God and yet their actions  do not live up to such claims. He thinks about two different things at the same time and can’t make up his mind about anything; they are dually focused and have split opinions on the same subject. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:8. It is God who promises to,” forgive ALL our sins and heal ALL our diseases.”(Psalm 103:3).But only if we do it God’s way and Gods standards and not in man’s way or man standards. We see many warnings in Bible being double minded. Some of them are: Elijah told Israel to stop being double-minded (1 Kings 18:21), Jesus tells us to stop being double minded (Mat 6:24), James tells us to stop being double minded ((James 4:8).

  One example of being double minded is that the person may ask help from God and at the same time he may suspect Gods promises and he do not trust enough that the Lord hears and answers his prayers because he does not have true faith. One moment he trusts and believe in God, the next moment he rely on himself or any other man like doctors, experts, scientists, counselors etc instead of trusting God 100%.There are few other  Christians when they get sick instead of claiming  God’s promise for healing they say  that God can heal through their doctors. But often they forget that When Jesus was on earth and people came to Him for healing, He never once said, “Go see Luke, I heal through doctors.” (Luke was a physician). Instead, Jesus healed the person directly. Our actions will reveal our beliefs. If you claim to have faith, to believe God’s promises, but you don’t act on them, then you really have no faith. Your faith is “dead.”(James 2:26). The human wisdom tells us that in order to trust anything we should believe only when the evidence is seen. Many people including me often have said I’ll believe it when I see it,” but God says different he says to us “walk by faith and not by sight.”(2 Corinthians 5:7).

  In order to get healed by God one should have  a genuine faith in God, confess and repent of his sins, follow the commandments, laws and decrees of God, Abide in Jesus Christ, humbly surrendering and submitting himself to God daily in everything ,pursuing righteousness and praying unceasingly by covering with the Blood of Jesus Christ.

 We need to come to God in complete faith, without doubting and wavering .God will reject our prayers, if we are insincere, or double minded. Devil always wants us to doubt God. Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1).

 In Psalms 32:10 reminds us that “The Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.”

  The Spirit of God which is our Holy Spirit creates faith in us and we should never reject what it says because God’s voice is the Holy Spirit .We need to have true faith in God because he is trustworthy Hebrews 11:6 says ‘And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him’.

  Mark 9:23 says: Jesus said to him, if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.

  Mark 11:24 says: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

  Every believer is commanded to be single minded  and can claim health and healing today on the merit of the Blood of Jesus Christ making his requests known to God through prayer and supplication continuing to believe and stand for it, whether  his request happens or not.