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Discipleship, Master, Servant, Ministry

This is a first for me.

I am uploading a “Podcast”.

I wish I could say it were mine, but it’s not.

I wish I could even tell you whose it is, but I’ll not.

He would not wish it so. Rather, he would have you focus on the words alone, without any distractions of himself, his career, accomplishments, or credentials. Therefore, simply judge the “words”, not the biography of the speaker.

There is a great deal of really healthy lively discussion around two topics these days among committed brethren in Christ, that I’ve been “pondering heavy”. This sermon just resonated deeply in my heart when I heard this, that I simply had to share this here in this way… without trying to edit, synthesize, or re-speak what was said.

The two topics in my mind/heart were/are:

“Discipleship: What is that and how do we promote it?”

and

“How do we rightly deal with differences of view, among committed servants and brethren in the Lord?”

When ministers start to think, “I am ‘more right’ than that other minister, and it is important for me to ‘fix’ him/her…” are we not re-stating, in 21st Century theology, “Lord, please set me…” [and those who believe just like *I* do]… “at Your left and right hands when You sit on Your throne!”?

Let these words from an old friend, resonate for you… [33 minutes, I think. Great investment of heartbeats.]

Grace to you! — The Little Monk

 

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In Love We Trust…

ring-for-wedding“I still LOVE him/her, but I just can’t TRUST her/him anymore…”

So often I have heard these words. So many tears, so many hearts broken when trust and love become sundered from one another.

Why is there such anguish? Why is there such pain?

Because this is impossible. Because people cannot do what cannot be done. We cannot love what we do not trust. We cannot trust what we do not love.

When we try, we cram the heart and soul into a contorted dimension, a false condition, a form of self-denial, that does not fit and never can. Like trying to wend our way through the stairways of an Escher Drawing, we pass through some mobius portal of feelings that leave us turned inside out, vulnerable, and exposed.

When we first begin to fall in love… that’s SO scary.

Why? Why is that so fearful?

Because we risk. We risk such anguish, such disappointment.

What if we finally acknowledge that we have “fallen in love”, that our hearts are now in the hands of another… and they do not feel the same way?

Who will be the first to say, “I love you?”

Who can’t recall the incredible gush of relief when we find the beloved DOES love us back?

That is a tremendous moment in life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But then… what about the NEXT layer of trust? The NEXT risk taken? Not just to risk trust to the “unknown”… but to trust in the “committed unknown”?

It is one thing to trust to love when there is not yet a commitment, but there is another whole layer, a whole dimension, of trusting to love when there is commitment, a covenant to faithfulness, that involves what we cannot see.

Here is where many relationships stumble… “I just worry all the time, Dr. Monk. What is he/she doing when I’m not there? Sometimes I call and there is no answer.” or “He/she calls or texts me 20 times a day, wondering where I am, who I am with, what I am doing… It’s driving me crazy!”

There is no “trust” here. There is the ongoing need for “control” here. There is only the “safety of being in charge” or of “ownership” here… Not “love”.

How do we “trust” to what we cannot “see” or “control”? How do we grow to love that much?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And then… there’s the last layer… the final layer that sunders us from all that “makes sense”, all that is “rational”, all that is “clearly apparent”.

How do we “trust” in the face of apparent and obvious “betrayal”?

It is one thing to trust to the unknown without commitment. It is another thing to trust to the unknown WITH commitment. But it’s a clearly different thing indeed to CHOOSE to trust, in the face of an apparent KNOWN of untruth, infidelity, in a covenant relationship of commitment.

To be frank, most people consider this simply impossible. So many, particularly Christians, will say they “forgive”, but cannot “forget” and therefore cannot ever restore “trust”.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So… “What’s going on here today, Little Monk?” you may ask. “Have we dropped through some warp from The Postmodern Mystic to an episode of Dr. Phil?”

Nope.

This post follows up from the Sizzling Bacon, and addresses the question… “How?” A few weeks ago I was intrigued by  “A Challenge”, written by Don Merritt,  wherein a listener came up to him after he had delivered a truth-filled sermon and asked, “Why don’t we believe you?” This addresses that question as well. Last, but not least, this post addresses a discussion I had with Susan Irene Fox one evening (about Don’s question), where I proposed that the answer was that “we refuse to surrender control… we are selfish”, and she disagreed, believing that, “people are simply fearful, they’re afraid.” (OK, so now you know, Susan is a kinder, more charitable, person than I…)

That conversation, those questions, kept mulling in my brain as I could sense truth in all of that, but could not put my finger on it…

Then, along with “Can You Hear the Bacon Sizzle?“, Jesus highlighted the piece I was missing… the issue is “Trust”.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Few of us have trouble relating to love, trust, romance, in the terms that open this post. But now, for Christians, the transition to our relationship of intimacy with God can be a bit more tricky. But think about it, Jesus has “wedded” us, we are at a Marriage Feast, we are His Bride (NOT just “corporately” as part of some anonymous “herd” or “flock”… but individually as well). To attain eternal life is to KNOW the Father, and the Son, with the intimacy of a spouse…

What is the “limit”… the “constraining factor”… the “conditional boundary” of our “Intimacy” with God?

Our decision to limit our Trust of Him.

“But I DON’T ‘limit my trust’ of Him!” one would protest! “I trust Him UTTERLY!”

I can say that. I can truthfully say I have done so always. BUT, at the same time, I have NOT.

I can only “trust” to the extent that I see the challenge to trust, acknowledge that, and make a conscious choice to do so. (And most of the time, reacting to situations moment-by-moment as I do, no such thing happens).

So let’s take our romantic illustration above, and apply it to our intimacy with God for a moment…

Trust to the Unknown without Commitment: “Who will be first to say ‘I love you’?” The risk of that, the daring to the unknown of that. Consider…

18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. [Matthew 4]

I propose that we see “trust to the unknown yet uncommitted” here. Bold trust. Daring trust. Yet, all unknown as yet. So much of relationship to be discovered, uncovered, committed to.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Time goes on, commitment grows (both directions in relationship), fealty is exchanged. There is now the “expectation” of fidelity. We see that in human romance. But how do we remain assured and at peace with what we CANNOT see, what we DO NOT understand? We see the Gospel of John highlight such a moment when Jesus speaks of eating His flesh, and so many disciples fall away. Their orthodoxy… their religion… all those rules about blood, and flesh, and what is holy and unclean… They can no longer trust Jesus. Jesus is speaking of unclean things, of abomination, of cannibalism. They can no longer walk with Him. He has ventured into the unknown, the untrustworthy. And yet… yet there are the few, there is Peter in their midst…

66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” [John 6]

They trust in the midst of the unknown. They CHOOSE to trust, they DECIDE to trust. They could have walked away, but they did not. They simply loved Jesus too much for that. They loved Him beyond their ability to understand or know… this is Trust.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But… But… What about the third case? What about “betrayal”? Jesus never “betrayed” them, did He? Well, no. He did not. He never did, He kept His word(s) always… BUT… it certainly did not SEEM that way to them, did it? The “facts” of the matter, the “evidence”, the “appearance”… certainly lined up a convincing case that He had abandoned them, leaving them to their fate at the hands of the Pharisees, did it not?

I mean, think this through. Palm Sunday, triumphal entry into Jerusalem… “Hail! Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”

What a high!

Then, to the Temple… driving out the money changers and animal sellers!

O My!

Then this week of controversy in Jerusalem. What confusion did they know? Prophecies and rumors of assassination plots against Him. The acclaim of the people. People giving livestock, goods, meeting rooms “because the Master has need” of them. Then… that mysterious Last Supper Passover meal… then the Garden… all His promises… “I will never leave you for forsake you… I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be… I lay down My life, no one takes it from Me…”

Confusingly, He tells them outright that He is going to die, but that because of that they will live. That they are His, in His hand, and they need not fear. That they will be scattered, but… He challenges them… TRUST Him!

And then… He dies!

This.. this… Messiah. This Son of God. This Resurrector of the Dead. This Healer of the Sick… Caster out of demons… Feeder of the Thousands!!! Dead! And they… were… left… alone! And scared. (Now, lest we cover this over with a “gentle Sunday-School haze” of… “well, yeah… they were alone, but, after all, they KNEW better… they KNEW He’d be back… and there was nothing to be anxious about…”)

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” [John 20]

These people were clustered together behind locked doors, locked in by fear. John speaks of fear of the Sanhedrin, but can we even imagine the other fears that flowed through their hearts in those days? A bit further in that passage, John tells us that they came to believe only when He showed them the wounds in His hands and feet!

They knew doubt. They doubted the reports of the women from the tomb. They doubted their own eyes until they saw His wounds. Thomas doubted even THEIR report, until he plunged his own digits into Christ’s side.

So… if even THEY doubted, what made them so special to Jesus? What sets them apart, has always set them apart, as disciples then Apostles? What are we, here and now, to see and realize from their ever-so-human frailty and relationship with Him?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Disciples did not know, they did not understand, they did not feel “confident” or “holy” of “faith-y”. None of that! They were scared, and lonely, and felt betrayed. But still, they did not CHOOSE to QUIT!

They remained. They remained in relationship with (as they thought at the time) a Dead Christ… buried and stolen. They CHOSE to TRUST, even in the face of evidence contrary to all they thought possible. They chose to remain, and to continue to love Him, continue to fellowship together, continue to encourage (literally) one another… even if He had lied to them, and had now abandoned them as orphans.

(Please understand… I know full well He HAD not…. that He ALWAYS keeps His word, and NEVER abandons us!) But realize, the Disciples had no EVIDENCE that attested to that as they huddled behind those locked doors, and frankly… you and I go through many days in our lives, where we can seem just as alone as they thought they were.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And look what happened…

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [John 20]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do I “trust” God? Do you? Yes, assuredly we do. And, to the extent that we trust Him, we love Him and experience His love for us.

But true though that is, I can testify to the fact that over time my “trust” has grown! Not because I ever intend to withhold trust from Him, but simply because until challenged by fear, I am not aware that there is greater trust to be had. Does that make sense?

I have discovered that my best “response” to fear… any fear… all fear… big, little, petty, grand… is “Trust”. He is there (here), He is perfect, He is powerful beyond any measure of adequacy, and He is dedicated wholly and totally to my good! I can trust to that, whether I understand it or not.

But it is only when that trust is tested…. only when circumstances seem to belie the safety of my trust… that my love and trust can grow.

It is only when I “seem” to be betrayed, wounded, lied to… when the “evidence around me” would indicate that I CANNOT trust someone… that I can freely CHOOSE to trust them, and the love of God (Father, Son, Spirit) fully flow through me. THAT is freedom! That is grace!

And, by the way, THAT is how God loves US in the first place… regardless of how much we betray Him, wound Him, or lie to Him… or even, to ourselves.

Amazing… grace…

Love = Trust = Love = Him

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Quiet Time, Reverse Polarity, Sermon Seeds

 

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Who Are You?

Question-MarkI woke a few days ago realizing an amazing thing. It was one of those “Upside Down” things we do with God so readily.

If someone were to ask me, “Who are you?” The odds are that within my first three statements I would speak of what I “do for a living”. I would probably first give my “label” (“Little Monk”), and then perhaps my “title” (“Minister of Whatever”), and then I’d describe what I “do”, what my “actions and behaviors” are.

Being human, it seems I “construct my identity” out of my control of what I do. I define myself by my choices of act and behavior.

When I woke up the other day, God pointed out that He works things from the exact opposite direction. He gives “Identity” first, “Relationship” first, and THEN… OUT OF THAT… come actions and behaviors.

For example, Adam in the Garden was first given his identity and relationship

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.[Genesis 1:26-31a]

I mean this is no big deep piece of theological or metaphysical writing, just this really neat thing God put down next to my coffee that I found delightful, and I wanted to share with you. But if God really saw this “identity” thing the way I, for one, tend to do… then Mankind’s Principal Identity would not be “Image of God — Joint Heir with Christ”, so much as it would be “Farmer”… (since gardening was our first assigned task and behavior). See the problem here? I did, once the Lord was kind enough (and patient enough) to point it out for me.

Simply that FIRST, God gave man identity and relationship… as His Image… His Creation… and THEN sent him off to tend the garden to work. It was like he discovered ever more of who he was, as he acted and worked through behaviors.

Jesus first and foremost knew who He was and what His relationship with God was (as far back as the finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple at age 12)… and FROM THAT knowledge, He did the will of, spoke the words of, and did the works of His Father. Jesus never seems to have had the experience of “becoming the Son of God”… by the teaching and preaching that He did or the miracles He worked. Everything worked the other direction round.

Even His statement of us, and the Companion Disciples, He commanded that we love one another as He loves us, and that the world would know we were His disciples by the love we showed. He didn’t say or imply that our love would MAKE us His disciples. Simply that our love would be our hallmark, our means of being “recognized” for who and what we are.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So there you go, Gentle Reader. Just one of those random lovely Roses that the Lord sometimes leaves on the table. You are who you are… Prince/Princess of Kingdom. You have the relationship you do with Him… cherished and beloved beyond imagining or measure. And FROM THAT… can emerge the grace and love of your acts and behaviors. But whether you do that well or badly, His will moves in one direction only.

Our actions don’t “define us”, only He can do that. But when we act rightly in Him, they do indeed help others recognize us, in our right names.

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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How To Guide: Making Disciples

There’s been lots of discussion across a number of blogs about “Discipling”, or “Making Disciples”.

Some have had really bad experiences in this vein, and have developed a distaste for the term, based on its intrusiveness and the innate patronizing air of persons who go up to someone else with an attitude of…

“You are broken and out of order, and I am here to fix you!”

I want to publish this… well… this “sermon”.

I think it’s the first time I’m trying to do this. I’m not sure I can make a “Player” work in this html bloggy format. The message is about half an hour long. But this is an absolutely extraordinary message that I think will change the way each and every hearer looks at “making disciples” for the rest of our lives. I know it did so for me.

I can attest to the absolute honesty of the speaker. Not only from knowing his honesty and integrity, but from having benefited from this process personally.

Here is the blog description of this message from its own internet source on http://www.PodBean.com:

Our Listening to Jesus sermon series leads us to very familiar ground in Matthew 28:18-20.  While often understood as a primarily missions scripture, Pastor Adams delves deep into the meaning of the words and their impact for believers of all stripes.  The call is sounded for disciple making as you go through life, baptizing others in the Father’s love, the Son’s forgiveness, and the Spirit’s presence in ordinary, everyday ways.  This sermon is a part of our Listening to Jesus sermon series and was preached on Sunday, March 4 by Pastor Bob Adams.  This podcast is a ministry of First Baptist Church of Bogalusa, La.  Thank you for listening!

Once you click on the link, it will open a new window. Just click the “Listen Now” button below the description, and enjoy a comfortable cuppa something. I promise you an outstanding half hour!

 Listening to Jesus: Go…Make Disciples

Please comment on this…

Have you ever heard discipling presented this way?

Does this seem more or less like Jesus made disciples, when compared to any other process you have heard before?

Do you feel this would be simpler, or more complicated than other things you’ve heard before?

Do you feel this would be easier, or harder than other things you’ve heard before?

Do you feel this is the right way to make disciples?

 

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Journey – Leaving Trust Behind

DisciplesBut the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:16-19]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For some, these have been “aversive verses”... (“averses”?)... for years. “MAKE DISCIPLES” can look arduous, peremptory, invasive, offensive, manufactury… as if we are to invade the surrounding enemy territories… like an infection… and remold sovereign people and consciousnesses into our own image! Hmmm… seems a familiar historical model, no?

Yes. Unfortunately, these verses were used as “syrupy theological veneer” to excuse and justify military, economic, cultural, political conquest for so many centuries… such atrocities have been committed and rationalized under the aegis of these verses… the very  nausea of cultural and physical genocide has created sincere crisis  of conscience for many.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But if you can set all that aside… if you can ignore all our human perversion and prostitution of these incredibly BEAUTIFUL Word(s) of God… just for a moment…

LOOK at this sequence, that we seldom consider as part of a “whole picture”…

Check this context as perceived and recorded by Matthew:

  1. Women arrive at Jesus’ Tomb to find an angel sitting atop the seal stone, after opening the tomb with an earthquake. The angel had appeared in his glory, and the guards fainted away from fear. The angel greets the women (first telling them not to fear him), then announces that Jesus is risen, invites them to come and see (where have we heard that before?), tells them to run ahead to the Disciples and where He will meet them.
  2. The women leave in great joy to do as the angel commanded and share the good news with the Disciples, and Jesus HIMSELF appears to them on the roadway. They are overcome with joy, and begin to worship Him, grasping His FEET. He repeats His instructions for the Disciples to them.
  3. While the women are traveling, some of the wimpy guards head back to their bosses in town and tell them what happened. They get paid off to lie, saying that disciples stole Jesus’ body… thus covering their jobs and reputations for failing at their task (guarding the Tomb).

OK, so the stage is set….

Now, check out this really cool thing… So often we “abstract” these verses from their setting, like cutting a rose blossom from its bush, or prying loose a gem from its setting.

But LOOK…

Jesus does NOT just say… “Here’s my orders! Go DO this thing!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

No. Instead, these verses tell an entire STORY! Matthew 28:16-20:

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.

Jesus had “left orders” by means of the women, as first articulated by the angel. The women had doubtless told them the whole story. They needed to travel, trusting both the source(s) and the content of the instructions.

When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.

WHAT? Wait, look at that. REALLY? This says three distinct things: (1) They SAW Him! (Amazing). (2) They worshiped Him! (Understandable). (3) But some were doubtful! (Huh?) Just rest here a moment, Gentle Reader. It says “some”, not “one”, so we can’t just write this off to Thomas alone, huh? Now, they’ve had Jesus’ statements BEFORE the Crucifixion, His miracles at and around the Crucifixion itself, the testimony of the angel, the testimony of the women on the road (not to mention all the surrounding narratives of the other Gospels), they travel (in faith and obedience) to this mountaintop… and THEY SEE HIM. They worship? But some are DOUBTFUL??? Does that make you blink?

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

I’m really not sure how or why, but these words are usually divorced from the rest of what is often called The Great Commission. Why is this particularly important? Well, first off… because it’s like… *cough*… HERE… and HE SAID SO?! But also, because the next two words to follow are “Go THEREFORE”!!!! So… all the REST only works BECAUSE… OF… THIS!

Huh? So, like… what’s so important about THIS, eh? Well, it’s really a pretty massive statement, and it follows because of and consequent to… all of the Redemption. The whole Incarnation, Ministry, Crucifixion Thing. The Father has chosen to give to Jesus ALL Authority, in heaven and on earth. NO ONE ELSE holds that authority… not the Father (any longer, He has given it over)…. not the Enemy, Darkness, Satan former ruler of this world… but only Jesus. This is a progression even beyond the promises of the Garden, even beyond John 17.

This… is a massive…. statement.  Jesus has pointedly and specifically ordered the Disciples to come up on a mountain so He can announce to them that… HE ALONE is now LORD of ALL.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;

And HERE, at the kernel of this whole discourse… Jesus uses a “THEREFORE”!!! Jesus does NOT simply “issue these orders” to the Disciples, and (derivatively) to us! He issues these instructions as a LOGICAL CONCLUSION of that which has been said before… He says, “Now that the Father has invested all authority over heaven and earth in Me… NOW this Chain of Grace continues and I invest this authority in you, to continue My Kingdom. GO! Love as I have loved! Speak My word(s) as I spoke those of the Father! Touch with My love and healing and wholeness, doing My work(s) as I did the Father’s. Lift Me up that more may fall in love with Me, as you fell in love with Me! Call them, show them, walk with them, live with them, and cover them up in the Father’s Love, My forgiveness and cleansing, and the Holy Spirit’s infinite and intimate Presence.”

Beyond all this He adds only one more revelation…

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

He’s said it before. He will say it again. He whispers it in our hearts and minds every second of every minute of every day… because here is the ultimate fear, the ultimate torment, the ultimate terror… the be Utterly Alone in the Void. Here is the darkness that drives otherwise balanced people to take their own lives. The sundering of abandonment, betrayal, alone-ness. HE WILL NEVER DO THIS! He does not, and will never, cut you off and abandon and forsake you. The ultimate assurance… whether we feel Him or not, whether we welcome His presence or not… He promises…. “with you always, even to the end of time.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Essence of Discipleship

An endnote I would leave here is that a disciple is a living testament to a Master. Whether the master is Jesus, or Socrates (who discipled Plato, who discipled Aristotle), or otherwise… a disciple is a field into which a Living Presence is planted, and lives on. Jesus, Living and Very God, is immediately present and not subject to “generations” and “adulteration” over time.

The Key to Discipleship is Living Presence, and Immediate Love. Oddly enough, the Foundation of the Great Commission is in the LAST statement. It is the: “Lo, I am with you always!”

Know this… we can UTTERLY TRUST Jesus in that statement, and it is the hardest statement for us (as humans) to believe of anyone else.

Most if not all the suffering and insecurity in the world is based on the fear that, “If I don’t have… if I don’t show… if I don’t act… THUS, then this person or these people (who I need in my life)… will cast me out and abandon me.” Doesn’t matter if what we must have is money, power, status, control, authority, respect… doesn’t matter. Insecurity is the fear that if we do not possess those things or attributes, then those we value will not find us acceptable.

People then live out their lives trying to accumulate “insurance” against abandonment. They (we) can never fully rest with true peace. They (we) can never truly trust.

Now, it would be nice to say simply, “this isn’t true! People will not abandon you because you do not have or do whatever.” But, truth be told, I, for one, cannot say such a thing. I cannot say, “Trust people not to abandon you. Trust that people will not measure and judge you for what you have and what you do… Trust people to keep their word… Trust that those who say they love you, or treasure you, or will always walk with you… will keep those promises.” I cannot say that. I have experienced too many liars, too many oathbreakers, too many who speak such words falsely… no matter how sincerely they may once have been uttered.

In fact, it has been my experience that the more closely the Lord and I walk, the more truly His word(s) speak, the more like Him I love and touch… the MORE frequently I (and my words and touch) will be abandoned and cast out. He was clear about it. I’ve asked to be blessed, and He has declared this to be blessedness… that to speak His Truth means that it is RIGHT that some I never thought possible have called vile names, found me unworthy of ongoing friendship, or even rejected me from presence in public worship.

People… will DO that. No matter how sacredly you treat them, how deeply you bless them, how truly you deal with them, or how intensely you pray for them. Sometimes, to speak truth to someone… is to sacrifice their very friendship to the Truth. For they will sometimes betray you. He promised it. That should be no surprise.

BUT NOT HIM! NEVER HIM! JESUS DOES NOT, and WILL NOT, DO THAT!

And, by the way, how do you treat the betrayer after they break their word? How do you deal with them after they declare you “unclean”? How do you ever “trust” that oathbreaker again?

Lol. You treat them, love them, speak to them, pray for them, and even TRUST them… EXACTLY AS YOU DID BEFORE! It makes NO DIFFERENCE! All that “Stuff”…. is THEIR “stuff” to deal with before God. It’s not your (or my) “stuff”. The ONLY standard we have for relationship is the standard the Father holds towards and for US. It’s the same old lesson from Sermon on the Mount!

Jesus taught: “The Father deals with you as a sacred person, thusly. THEREFORE… you will treat other sacred people, the same way.” Period, full stop. There is no “transaction” to relationship. You treat “enemies” with the same love as “family”. No difference.

I love, trust, speak… to/for others… because and as God treats me. At least that is the standard… and I (of course) have my own “good and bad days” with the challenge of that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Disciple others? Yes… simple… love them, bring the Living Presence of Christ… in you (in us)… to them, and walk with them thus.

Live, each moment, as though “He were with us, even to the end of the age.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From my pack, I remove all “Trust” for people… lay it reverently on the fire… and watch it slowly burn to ash. My heart is lighter by the weight of its fear.

 

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