Are We Called To Be “Actors”?

“Therefore BE IMITATORS of GOD, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave  Himself up for us, a FRAGRANT offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph.5:1-2)

What is an imitator?

Webster’s Dictionary definition: “to follow as a pattern, model, or example; to be or appear like: resemble; to copy exactly: MIMIC”

Hmmm….

Matthew Henry commentary states: “Pious persons should imitate the God they worship, as far as He has revealed Himself as imitable by them. They must conform themselves to His example, and have His image renewed upon them. This puts a great honor upon practical religion, that is the imitating of God. We must be holy as God is holy, merciful as He is merciful, perfect as He is perfect. But there is no one attribute of God more recommended to our imitation than that of His goodness. Be you imitators of God, or resemble Him, in every grace, and especially in His love, and in His pardoning goodness. God is love…..”

We are called to be imitators of God….WHAT a calling!!!

To mimic to the world WHO God IS…..

Why are there so many confused “religious” people? Confused ‘unbelievers’? What “movie” do you suppose they’re watching through our lives?

Jesus Himself said: “YOU are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city on a hill CANNOT be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the SAME WAY, let YOUR light shine before others, SO THAT they may SEE your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16)

How could we be a light if our lives are not imitations of God?

Listen to this: “…GOD IS LIGHT, and in Him is NO darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him WHILE we walk in darkness, WE LIE and do NOT PRACTISE THE TRUTH. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin….” (1John 1:5-7)

How does that old saying go? “Imitation is the highest form of praise”?

 Our bodies are to be LIVING sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God,  the Word says that THIS is our “spiritual worship” (see Rom. 12:1). In other words, by our imitation of God, of His love and of His light and His holiness, we are living lives of praise to Him.

When is the last time you watched a movie full of convincing actors? Their form of imitation convincing you to believe their story?

That is the effect and affect a great movie has on a life. If a movie of actors claim impact on a life, what kind of impact would and could our lives have if we were living a life of “FULL OUT” imitation of God?

“Therefore, BE imitators OF GOD….”

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a nasty dream..

I awoke this day to a schedule that carried two commitments; both commitments resulted in cancellation. So here I sit at my computer having submitted an empty day back into the hands of the Lord with a request of Him to know how to govern my free time with wisdom.

What comes to mind as I sit here staring at my computer screen is the nasty dream I had three nights ago; a vivid one of the enemy gaining entrance into our home. I stood there beside the open staircase watching him; his massive, distorted head made its way up the first flight of stairs…..I tried to call out the name of Jesus, but something was restricting my voice from being heard. In my dream I tried and tried to shout out Jesus’ name, but like tangled seaweed, my vocal chords had no movement…..until finally I managed a hoarse whisper, “JESUS CHRIST”!  immediately the beast was gone from our home.

How strange a dream.

Just plain weird.

But it haunted me a little.

Why?

The last few days I have been experiencing a crazy battle of condemnation; so persistent and silent these accusers have come against my mouth and its words that I have been tempted  to take vows of silence to eliminate possibility of being found guilty of words ill-spoken.

I have been studying the book of Romans;  today I read Romans 8; The first verse in this chapter states that “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

hmmm….NO condemnation…whose voice was I listening to?

Corrie Ten Boom in her book “Tramp For The Lord” spoke of the “Ding-Dong Principle”. I quote from page 179 of her book:

“In Holland we have many churches with belfries. The bells in the steeples are rung by hand, with a rope that is pulled from the vestibule of the church….. After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps swinging. First DING then DONG. Slower and slower until there’s a final DONG and it stops….I believe the same thing is true…of when sin is confessed and renounced, Satan’s hand is removed from the rope. But if we worry about our past bondage, Satan will use this opportunity to keep the echoes ringing in our minds…you should not worry about the DINGS and the DONGS, they are nothing but echoes….Demons seldom leave without leaving behind their vibrations–DINGS and DONGS. It is as though they give the clapper one big swing on the way out, scaring us into thinking they are still there. They know that, even though they have to flee at the Name of Jesus, if we grow fearful over the remaining echoes, other demons can come and take their place.”

I am not writing  about demon-theology today, but I am writing about the very real battle that we fight on a daily basis… “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual FORCES OF EVIL in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)

For me, the voice of condemnation are the DINGS and DONGS that ring in my head. This is the voice of the enemy to shut me up and keep me from speaking of the One my soul loves.

The dream most likely reflected what I have been fighting against.

It also speaks to the fear of man’s opinion as well, of which I thought I was free from…apparently I am listening to the bell-ringer and not to the voice of Jesus!

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were STILL TRYING to please man, I would NOT be a SERVANT OF CHRIST!” (Gal. 1:10)

“The fear of man LAYS A SNARE, but whoever trusts in THE LORD is SAFE!” (Prov. 29:25) 

What DING and DONG is distracting you from truth today? Where did you open the door to the prince of darkness? Follow the trail backward and identify the root of thought that began the noise in your heart and mind.

We must be “on our guard” CONSTANTLY! Read 1Peter 5:8

I believe every one of us have a weakness to a particular “lie” that comes up against our mind. A lie that if left unchecked and unrepented of will open the door wider to the dominion of darkness, hurling us to the ground in an eventual battle of emotion.

I believe that TRUTH MUST ALWAYS be the engine of our thought train.

For what it’s worth today, do a security check of the alarm system of your heart and mind; ask the Holy Spirit to illumine any shadows lurking and deal with them immediately in Jesus great Name.

This battle has already BEEN WON for us!!

What great news again today, and a reminder to remain ever vigilant in this ongoing epic battle we are a part of.

If only I could literally SEE  it…….

The broken record

I can’t stop writing or musing about the Word of God! Absolutely everything I do, say, think, and encounter comes back to it’s simple but profound truth. It literally saturates my life like a wet blanket clinging to dry flesh.

Freedom to live with joy and peace emerges like smoke from under a closed door, permeating my living space of every moment, kissing me with crazy desire to know and understand the Word more fully, to connect the dots of God’s truth, so that I may KNOW Him who offers me this free gift of life and transforming love.

The Word holds power to transform EVERY life in EVERY way!

As part of my daily study I read through the Psalms. I am currently studying my way through Psalm 119.

“If Your law had not been MY DELIGHT, I would have perished in my affliction” (vs. 92).

“Oh how I love Your law! It is my MEDITATION ALL the day” (vs. 97).

“I have understanding more than all my teachers, for Your testimonies ARE my MEDITATION” (vs. 99).

“How SWEET are YOUR WORDS to my taste, SWEETER than honey to my mouth!” (vs. 103).

“YOUR WORD is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (vs. 104).

“Your testimonies ARE MY HERITAGE FOREVER; for they are the JOY OF MY HEART” (vs.111).

Over and over through this entire Psalm the Word is lifted up as the source of life in every way. It leads me to the New Testament:  

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD. He was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1:1-2).

So let me ask you, when we speak of the Word of God, WHO are we speaking of? We are not speaking of words, we are speaking of SOMEONE. THIS is why the Word of God holds POWER to change a life.

Listen to this:

“The Word BECAME FLESH and made His dwelling AMONG US. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who CAME FROM THE FATHER, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

And WHO is this? It is Jesus!

Is this why the Word of God be described as “living”?

“For the word of God IS LIVING and ACTIVE, sharper than ANY two-edged sword, PIERCING to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb.4:12).

The Holy Trinity speaks of three persons represented by One. Jesus Christ is God’s speaking voice TO US. We hold all those words (aka, the Bible) in our hands every day and yet we refuse to embrace them as “Jesus”.

Why I wonder….

I have a sense in my spirit that time is running out for all of us; I have a sense of urgency for the Bride of Christ (the church) to become ALIVE in the incarnate life of Christ through what we hold in our hands (the Word of God) and through the power of the resurrected life of Jesus Christ who LIVES IN us. A sense of urgency to stop farting (sorry if that word offends you, but its implication is “full of stinking hot air”) around with minds that refuse to embrace truth for what IT IS…..”LIVING AND ACTIVE”….

How much more time will pass as we trudge through life like modern-day zombies? Really, seriously…..think about this…

Read dear ones read! Read the Word of God! Read with expectation to know and understand these LIFE GIVING “words” from the Father’s heart. Learn to fully TRUST Him with your life; learn more and more and more of WHO GOD IS, and WHO HE IS NOT. Hear the voice of the Lord, can you not hear His heart of love for you, calling you through every page? He is the sweetest wine, the purest water.

The word itself says of itself that it is “sweeter than honey to (our) mouths.”

When is the last time you ate and drank from this banquet table?

A broken record plays at this table; over and over and over and over again its repetitive voice calls out….”COME”….

MY Heart…Arrogant?

As I sat on my back porch this beautiful morning, drinking that wonderful first cup of coffee, I read Proverbs chapter 16.

Verse five says: ” EVERYONE WHO is arrogant IN HEART is a stuck up pig….oops…nope, that’s not what it said…..start over; ” EVERYONE who is arrogant IN HEART is an abomination to the Lord; be assured he will not go unpunished.”

These words ran through my heart like a sword.

Arrogance: Webster’s dictionary defines it this way: “A sense of one’s own importance that shows itself in a proud and insulting way.”

Hmmm…wow I thought, that is sooo NOT me! What a horrible heart to have, no wonder the Lord is seriously displeased, how can His glory be seen from a heart consumed with arrogance?

My morning continued, which included a trip to the gym for my Pilates class.

Dang! A substitute teacher! O well, “maybe she’s good”,  I thought.

Dang again! She stopped the class every 3-5 minutes to PAINSTAKINGLY EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!! Arghhhh!! It was mental anguish for me!  I found myself tapping my foot, looking at the clock, and NOT following her very detailed instructions! I was getting more and more frustrated by the minute!  “I” had driven 15 minutes to attend a class to exercise my body not my ears!!  AND to top it all off it was stuff “I” already knew!!  I wanted to leave!! A young woman beside me looked at me and smiled, I rolled my eyes with indication that “I” was NOT pleased with the class.

OOPS….

UMMM…

The Holy Spirit reminded me of what I had read this morning:  enter CONVICTION….okay, so, either I choose repentance, because MY heart was clearly FULL of arrogance AND feeling justified about it, or I continue to foster this growing seed of sin.

Standing there at the back of the fitness room, in the dark, I repented; next came that dear old instructor…. literally touching my body to re-align me… apparently I was NOT performing the exercise correctly.  HA! So much for knowing everything.

So my point today?

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (I Cor. 10:12)

O how I welcome the piercing work of the Holy Spirit on a second by second basis! He reveals my need and desperation for Jesus always! I am TOAST without His beautiful, probing revelations of the deepest and dirtiest closets in my soul, of which I am discovering  have the finest layer of dust. Dust missed until it is revealed in my actions. OUCH…!

O “Wretched (woman) that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? THANKS be to God THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24)

HALLELUJAH! I am free, forgiven, and saved through Jesus Christ who gave His life for me; I can in these very ugly moments of my life  walk away immediately forgiven, with a heart set FREE from arrogance!

What about your life today? What dust is the Holy Spirit unsettling in your dark corner?

As I sat and read the Word this morning, God had begun His work of pressing in and revealing the seed of arrogance, giving truth to me about the condition of my heart; BUT I ran over the words like a horse in a race! GOD BEING GOD reined in the horse, fully aware of the condition of my heart!!  He was warning me, SO THAT I would deal with it BEFORE I left the house, instead I chose to read and run instead of read and meditate.  The result? A trained professional received haughty eyes and a naughty attitude!

I wonder if I could have completed the exercises wearing “the cone of shame”?

The Night-time Caller…

There is great mystery surrounding the wakeful soul in the middle of the night.

Toss and turn…

Turning and tossing…

What is that I hear?

A sound? No…

O but I do hear something…

Is my name Horton?

A very small whisper is heard…

What did you say?

Did someone say something?

Toss and turn…

Turning and tossing….

Knock, knock, knock.

O for Pete’s sake! I WANT TO SLEEEEP!!!

A name, a face, a soul comes waltzing through my mind.

Over and over,

and over.

Now I’m awake; the whisper has a finger.

Poke, poke, poke.

Ouch! My heart! Heaviness accompanies a vision of someone.

Oh! I get it….PRAY!!!!

“I remember your name in the night, O Lord..” (Psalm 119:55); “By day the Lord commands His steadfast love, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:8). These scriptures describe a reoccurring night-time theme for me.

But I am a slow learner.

I believe that the names and faces that are so prevalent in my heart and mind in those wee hours of darkness are beloved souls for whom I am being asked to pray for. Often they are warfare prayers. Prayers of “fighting” with spiritual weapons in the deep on behalf of another.

It seems quite odd when you stop to think about it.

The Creator of the universe is waking His beloved ones up all over the world to pray for one another.

Are we listening? Or do we continue to toss and turn, trying desperately to shut down so we can get back to sleep?

Have you been visited by the Night-time Caller? Are you obeying the voice of the Lord?

In Psalm 139 David writes; “If I say, “surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to You; for the night is AS BRIGHT AS THE DAY, for darkness IS AS LIGHT with You” (verses 11-12).

Perhaps this is about being “still”?

Having a quiet soul?

How are you doing with that?

What about your day? Do you have an attentive mind and soul to the whispers and promptings of the Spirit of God? The crushing but gentle angst that beckons; beckons that voice be given in request for another.

Are you listening?

What kind of victories would be unleashed in our brothers and sisters lives if we LIVED this way?

May this be a day of cleaning the soul house, of de-cluttering our mind of anxieties, worries, stress, and lists. A day of simplifying; SO THAT we can be on about God’s work FOR EACH OTHER!

1 Thess. 5:17; “PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.

Slumbering soul prayers I believe, are birthed from the deep of simplicity….our eyes closed to daytime distractions, our minds shut down for rest…. enter God, with an assignment to pray.

This work of God is a deep mystery; He alone knows the why behind the nudge to pray for another, the mystery behind His timing remains an unsolved puzzle to me…why the middle of the night?

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES.” (Eph. 6:12).

At those times we receive a specific invitation to join Him in the battle.

Only a God of love would execute an operation on our behalf in the dead of a human night. He is our God and He fights FOR US NOT AGAINST US!!

Perhaps great battles are being waged as creation rests in stillness? Could this also mean that great battles are intended to be won from stillness?

Is this why we find easy routine in being busy?

Are we being lured away by its pace?

Is this why we are summoned on our beds of rest, where finally we have “stopped”?

I wonder…

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being  watchful IN IT, with thanksgiving.”  (Col. 4:2)

Shadows of Death

Jesus said in Matthew 10:38-39 , “whoever does NOT take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake WILL FIND IT.”

Jesus paid a price for our sin with His life. I have great doubt in our ability to understand Jesus’ road of suffering. We read in the Word of God that He experienced soul agony. Jesus asked if the cup of suffering could be removed from His life (see Matthew 26: 36-40). He struggled to take up His cross as well.

What if Jesus wimped out on us all? What if He desired an earthly kingdom instead?

Compared to Jesus…. we are a culture of wimps.

And whiners.

Walkers of tails between our legs.

The first sign of trouble, heartache, sorrow or nasty unexplainable circumstances and our instincts tell us to RUN.

If Jesus told us to “TAKE UP” our cross and “FOLLOW”, why do we think our lives should be free of pain? Or shadows of death? Have these trials not been sent for greater purpose? Perhaps to extract the dross that shadows the image of Christ to us?

Could the cost of following Jesus consist of some hovering realities of the choices we’ve made that have led us away from the cross of Christ? Could it be an allegorical image to speak of a death that NEEDS to happen so that we COULD follow Jesus? So that we would follow Jesus?

What if we willingly surrendered our lives to be “sifted like wheat?” What then? Would our faith prove to be fickle?

How could Jesus live fully in my life if I am full of myself? God’s Word lands the answer to this question for me; “I (Karolyn) have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, WHO LOVED ME and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

This is why it is possible for me to take up my cross daily, it is a resuslt of  living by faith “in the Son of God who LOVED me and GAVE HIMSELF for me.”

I can testify that in embracing the cost I have discovered LIFE…..I am discovering deeper glory from Jesus words in John 10:10-11: “….but I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.”

What is keeping you from following Jesus with abandon?

Perhaps it needs to ‘die’?

God-Speech

I am sitting here in my backyard.

It is a small backyard…

Simple-like…

A half wall of large rocks paints the backdrop for newly planted flowering plants (at least I hope they’re flowering!).

The sounds I hear are the beckoning call of a chickadee, a sparrow and the wind playing in the Cottonwood trees on the hill before me.

How enchanting!

How absolutely marvelous!

This natural beauty to behold and listen to.

My head, heart and soul feel carried along and spoken to in some strange sort of way.

I need this right now…desperately.

I welcome and delight in the trail of reflection upon scripture in these settings.

King David wrote in Psalm 19:

“The heavens DECLARE the GLORY of God, and the sky above PROCLAIMS HIS handiwork. Day to day POURS OUT SPEECH, and night to night REVEALS knowledge. THERE IS NO SPEECH, NOR ARE THERE WORDS, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through ALL THE EARTH, and their works to THE END OF THE WORLD. In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat” (verses 1-6).

There is no human that cannot hear and understand this language of the created natural.

Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans,

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness surpress the truth. For what CAN BE KNOWN about God is PLAIN to them, because God has shown it to them. For His INVISIBLE attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been CLEARLY  perceived, EVER SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, in the THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE. So they are WITHOUT EXCUSE. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him AS GOD or GIVE THANKS to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (1:18-23).

As I sit here surrounded by the natural and consider the truth of God’s word, I can testify that creation is God’s language! It is speech that is “plain” and easily understood in every language. Our excuses are nullified!

Is it as Paul suggests, that our own ungodliness and unrighteousness “suppress the truth”?

Creation speaks truth!

The language of God is heard and seen in how the trees bend with air I cannot see, and in a small winged creature that sings the most beautiful songs not taught or learned. This language speaks of His INVISIBLE attributes, as they move in PERFECT sync with one another.

All this movement and sound working together in perfect harmony to speak of ONE, not an image, but of a Creator, a living God who created me and gave this landscape of splendor to me and for me to enjoy, to watch and to listen so that I could KNOW Him.

May your heart surge with praise today as you see and hear God speak through Creation!