November 29 Esight, 2009

They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” —Acts 1.11Right now my son is going through major separation anxieties. Not only is he going through the emotional stage of separating his identity from his mother’s (what many call the “terrible twos”) but his mother is also in Colorado visiting family, and he (along with my two girls) is here with me. I found him today walking around the house calling for Mom.

Have you ever missed someone really badly? So badly that it hurt? You longed to be with them, but your current circumstances did not allow it? Someone you really loved, and who you knew loved you, but time and space were simply not shining on you at the moment?

I wonder what the disciples must have been feeling when the kindest, most giving friend they’d ever had suddenly disappeared into the sky one day. Do you think they missed him? Of course they did, badly. But all of this brings me to one single question: What’s it going to take for us to miss God, whom we’ve never even met, that intensely? So intensely that we would do anything to be with Him?

I want you to first notice the common thread in each of the following verses:

Exodus 25.8

“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.”

Exodus 29.46

“They shall know that I am the LORD their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the LORD their God.”

Psalms 68.18

“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”

John 1.14

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

1Thessalonians 4.17

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Revelation 21.1-3

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

Revelation 7.15

“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”

Genesis 3.8

“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day . . . then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”

Could it be this simple? That in order for us to really begin to miss Him, we have to first see how much He misses us?

I wish you God’s best this week.

November 10 Esight, 2009

Jesus said unto him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.”—Mark 9.23I have spent countless weekends emphasizing to audiences that what many consider as behavioral problems are truly the fruit of a much deeper issue and that the behaviors we most often criticize “in church” are really only the fruit of feelings, unhealthy thinking, and ultimately, an erroneous picture of whom we believe God Himself to be. (For more on this, please listen to the presentation on our Web site, Who Do You See?)

Someone recently asked me, “How does Faith play into this model of Seeing, Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving?” And though I have answered this many times, this week I thought I’d share it in writing. You see, many believe we are saved by faith and lost through focusing on our behavior instead. But I’d like to invite you to consider it more broadly than that. We are actually both saved or lost by Faith because it is ultimately what we believe about God—about His character, right or wrong—that sets in motion the final outcome. If I have a correct understanding of God’s character, I can be told a lie about Him all day, and it won’t do any damage whatsoever if I don’t choose to believe it. If I am believing lies about God’s character, I can be told the truth all day and it won’t do any lasting good if I don’t choose to believe it. Ultimately, it is what we are choosing to believe about Him that determines how, in our heart, we picture or see Him. Our concept of Him, in turn, affects our thoughts and feelings toward Him, and thus our behavior in relation to Him. Everything then, even your picture of God, how you see Him, is determined right now by what you are choosing to believe.

This week take some time, sit down, and consciously take a look at what you are choosing to allow yourself to believe about God. Does it correspond with what Jesus taught us He is like? Is it shaped by the Scriptures, or is it being shaped instead by our Christian culture, which sometimes is quite self-destructive? I am convinced that what we are choosing to believe about God could quite possibly be the most important question we can address in this time of earth’s history.

Jesus Himself said that all things are possible for the one who believes. Good or bad, everything is made possible; everything is the fruit of our beliefs. It’s never been a question of whether someone is a believer or not. We are all believers! The question is not whether or not we believe. The question is rather What are you believing?

I wish you God’s best this week.