Here’s a worship song by Hillsong I’ve been listening to a lot lately titled, “Who You Say I Am.” (From album “There is More“). It really captures something that’s perhaps the most important thing we can know about ourselves—our identity in Christ. Sadly, many lovers of Jesus don’t see themselves the way God sees them. They see themselves based on what everybody says about them. They are circumstance and culturally led…rather than Spirit led. They identify themselves based on the “I am not’s” instead of the Great “I Am.”
Frankly, after 40 years of following Jesus, I don’t really care what people say about me. I care about what God says about me. And He says I’m His son, His child, and He is my Father. I do not live by what others tell me but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt.4:4). As Eugene Peterson put Paul’s words so well in the Message Bible:
4-7 But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. (Gal.4:4-7 MSG)
And the thing is, how we interpret ourselves is how we will interpret the world. If I think God is angry with me, or that His love is conditional to my performance, that’s exactly how I will relate to others. But God loves me…and you…exactly the same as He loves Himself.
How much do you think God loves God?
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. (John 15:9 TPT)
I don’t “nourish my heart” with what I’m not, I nourish it with God’s love.
Love is ever shaping me and making me who I already am but never dreamed I could be as I follow Him.
“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” (John 8:31-32 MSG)
If my life is driven by fear, that’s exactly how I will live. But His perfecting love drives out all my orphan-hearted fear (1 John 4:18). I am not an orphan on my own in this world. I am His child and my Father’s house is where I belong…today, tomorrow, and forever.
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
And so are you…if you will accept it.
The greatest forces set against you and me are not principalities and powers but the belief systems we hold between our ears. These include arguments and everything else that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor.10:3-5). We’ve been empowered to leave the confused and meaningless morass of darkened cultural mindsets for the freedom and transcendence of our true identity, purpose, and destiny in the One in Whom all things hold together and consist (Acts 17:28; Col.1:16-17):
5–6 For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!
7 Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace. 8 This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing within us all forms of wisdom and practical understanding. 9 And through the revelation of the Anointed One, he unveiled his secret desires to us—the hidden mystery of his long-range plan, which he was delighted to implement from the very beginning of time. 10 And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme through every period of time until the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ. (Eph.1:4-10 TPT)
So, I’m going to sing this song and remember who God says I am. I invite you do to the same.
I am chosen not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who You say I am
Two of my favorite phrases are, “whom the Son sets free, is free indeed,” and “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Those are great spiritual flashlights that always help me to remember who I really am.
Thanks, IB. I agree. Those are two we should never forget!
This is good, Mel. We get so wrapped up in a lot of stuff that we forget what the point really is. The point is our relationship with our Father, through Jesus the Son. FYI, I have only been around the Christian camp for about a decade, but not caring what others think is a good place to be. I imagine some will shortly show up just to tell you what they think of you LOL, in case you forget that you don’t care.
LOL! Probably so. I suppose I’m just “lyin’ for Jesus.” But I have pretty thick skin. And, as a pastor, being told by people what they think of me comes with the territory. But thanks for the reminder.
My pleasure. I actually have prayer they would not. It would be nice to converse with Christians and fellowship without the haters clogging everything up.
Prayer unanswered…again for the trillionth time.
Sorry Jim. My prayer was answered. That God would show everyone who the “haters” are. 😊
Lol. Your blog would be boring without us. Plus I’ve learned a lot along the way. Good to see you Mel.
And it just goes to show, god loves you more than Wally. I would’ve guessed that.
Oh, you’re just being clever. God’s love has nothing to do with answered prayer, silly. Actually, He loves you as much as He loves me.
And Mel, fix all my typos would you? Sheesh typing as we barrel down a gravel road was bad planning. Can’t have….and Intellectual
Hi Jim. Nice sarcasm. Let me ask you a question though. Since a never ending claim from atheists is that Christians are basically hand waving ninnies who can’t have an intellectual, grown up conversation…..just how do comments like that foster what you claim to crave so much? Wait, I can answer that. They don’t. Peace to you, but I don’t have a lot of time to waste on gratutius sarcasm masquerading as intellectualy discourse.
Lol. Have a good day Walter. Maybe another time.
Two things. Wallace is it. Walter is the old grumpy guy who is Jeff Dunham’s dummy. I am old and grumpy but quite real. Item two is that its also funny how people who claim to want intellectual discourse think that means just asking questions and never aswering. No prob. You have a good day too
You’re the one that answered your own question and said never mind. I was respecting your request. I don’t crave anything but truth, but you guys idea of the truth lately—anything that is said or done to make you feel good, start an orphanage or donate to a cause, has an element of truth. I can make you feel the spirit by lying up some shmoozie conversion story, and as long as it strengthens your faith you guys would buy it. It’s called a pschlogicaligism. You get what you pray about and, split hairs to define it, then shout from the rooftops god is good.
You can see, without opposition you would have no faith at all and your church would collapse due to disobedience. I am blessing you to think. Look how boring this blog is without the opposing/correct views.
Jim, if you crave truth, then you would open a conversation with a person you don’t even know with something besides rank sarcasm. That sort of comment does not foster an exchange of thought. From what I have seen around these parts, not one of the atheists who come by here crave truth, because they laugh at and mock anything a Christian says. What it seems atheists crave, especially those who claim to have been believers is company in their rejection. The very terms you use indicate clearly that what you want is mockery and derision, not conversation. Decon stories are gospel and to be honored at all costs, yet Christian conversion stories are “schmoozie.” “I am blessing you to think.” Really Jim? Do you honestly believe that Mel and other Christians would not think unless atheists came crashing around? Do you realize how condescending and off-putting that is? Who wants to waste time with people who think that, if only I wasn’t and undereducated nonthinker, I would reject God too? It’s a false narrative, it insulting, and it shuts down the conversation. So, again, peace out.
Take your mess Wally. I see you only believe, based on the words you still fail to live. It is by faith that you continue in righteous indignation. If you ever actually decide to live the gospel you preach you will know it doesn’t add up. That is a fact! You only know the words.
“If you ever actually decide to live the gospel you preach you will know it doesn’t add up.”
The really beautiful and mysterious truth of the gospel is that it really doesn’t “add up.” It is downright scandalous, irrational, and certainly unfair, but “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Wally, Mel, me, there are literally hundreds of thousands of us who do live out this truth, who have it in our hearts, who know it is far more than “just words.”
Actually Jim, you don’t know what I know, how I came to know it, or how I actually do(or attempt) to live my life. So, you entire statement is, again, a false narrative and quite presumptous, and jsut a we bit arrogant and condescending. That is not “righteous indignation” on my part; it is an observation. No prob. You have been indorctrinated well LOL.
Self indoctrinated I might add. I don’t read atheism. Just observe and report. I have read your stuff for quite sometime. Just never said anything. Fundy’s become pretty predictable after about 3 sentences.
Jim, do you have some actual content you would like to counter on this post? Or do you only have the standard atheist talking points to recite? Yes fundies are predictable , and stupid, and boring. Now sweat. But, sad to report that actually has zip to do with Mel’s post. Perhaps a comment relevant to where you are commenting would be in order?
Sure, to quote Mel, how we interpret ourselves is how we will interpret the world. By your apparent anger issues, do all christians see the world as a horrible place. A place in decline, a place of misery? It’s actually the safest time in the history of the world to be alive. So why all the stiffness?
I don’t have anger issues, Jim. I just have a low level of patiience for stupid, and choose not to engage it much. In your world, if a Christian chooses to not chase athiest rabbit trails all day, the obviously must be angry. That is your problem, not mine. You opened with blatant and senseless sarcasm in this thread to me. My failure not to roll over like a good puppy does not make me angry.
It wasn’t blatant sarcasm. It was perfectly timed and in good spirit. And a bit funny too. Where’s your sense of humor. Most guys in the church are there because of a woman. Most would not be caught dead in a pew singing hymns without some type of pressure. You?
Jim you have read so you know. Yes God used a woman to bring me in. So what?
Ok. What brought you to believe? No condescension here. Genuinely curious about how it all worked. Were you an atheist or just floating along?
Well, Jim. I never actually believed inside of me that God was not real. I postured like an atheist, but like most people, I knew better. So, you put whatever name on it you want. I hesistate to say I was atheist, because of of the card carrying, “real” atheists get mad about that. I have even been told that no “real” atheist wouild every convert to Christianity. So I was a floating atheist/agnostic something or other. Yet, say no real Christian would deconverts and watch the squalling beging. But, that is another topic. I came to faith the way people come to faith, Jim. By the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of where I stood with God, and what I could do about it. That’s how it works Jim, and you knwo this. By faith, and by belief. I won’t pretend it was some great logical deduction because it was not. Now, do I believe faith is perfectly logical? Of course I do, and it is. Jim, it’s easy. Give God the courtesy of existing and the rest is no problem.
Thanks for you honest opinion. I was a full-timer for fifty years. Never had anything happen like that. Maybe I’m not chosen, but I lived it faithfully. Eventually I put it all together, and after a lot of unanswered prayers to keep my faith, I walked away. Prayer, as you can, see was a big reason for my departure. Really odd that prayer gets credit for anything at all.
Well your response was honest as well. Keep your eyes open I’ll Maybe hit that soon and we can talk. Prayer that is
The other week Jim we had a group-rally sort of like a group-prayer meeting, and we talked, fired-up each other, had moments of silence (and pondering), and hours later, Voilà!… Every bit of our hopes, wishes, and petitions were answered!!!
Texas Longhorns 48 — Oklahoma Sooners 45!!! Woooohooooo!!! See, God favored us of dem Sooners!!! 😁
That is due to belief. Texas crowd attendance must’ve outnumbered sooner fans. I’m praying you have a change of heart. Roll Tide!! Lol. Jk jk. I’m a Wisconsin Badger fan, believe it or not. Big Ten all day long!!!
LOL… nope. My heart will always bleed burnt orange (UT), tropical blue-green-yellow (Brasil), maroon-blue-gold-red (Barcelona FC), black-green-white-gold (Stars), and deep purple & black for our liberating Alt lifestyles! God bleeds the exact same colors Jim! Dontcha know!? 😁
Again, do you have something in regard to this post you want to address? LOL.
That’s was from the post. What are your feelings on that? How do you see the world through your lens of Christianity?
Fair enough. Jim, I am not angry at the world. If you have read at my place as you say you have, then you cannot truthfully say that. I don’t back away from truth. If that seems angry, I actually can’t help you. How do I see the worlld? You know that too, Jim. I believe this world, and the people in it are fallen and broken. Again, my blog is clear on that. But, contrary you your really stupid narrative, that does not make me hate the world. or the people in the world. You desperately want me to, as it supports the choices you have made. I don’t think God is a constantly angry God either. I absolutely DO believe he will exercise perfect and righteous jugment on the world and those who reject Him. Yet, God is love, and offers us an alternative. THAT is the lens through which I see the world. Jesus commands me to love, and I do. Love doesn’t mean stroking stupid so as not to offend it.
Well in all fairness, your “stoking stupid” overrides any other motives you might have. Every generation says the same thing. If I were a Christian I would have to be a preterist. Everything has already happened a dozen times and will again. It’s up to us to be undivided and cooperative. No one is coming to judge anything, so we start with that.
That was stroking, not stoking. Wrong word. Look Jim, I will be honest. If you want to debate theology, find somebody willing to do that with you. I could be brilliant in my answers and you would still reject. Hence I won’t really debate the end times with you. I will just say you state “No on is coming to judge anything, so we start with that.” Since that statement moves your atheism from simple dislelief to a declaration that there IS nothing, I’d really love to see you prove that. You can’t. Any more than I can “prove” God exists. Know what you will get from me, Jim? The Gospel, and that’s it. And if you were on the side of the road with a flat, I would fix it. If you were getting mugged I would help. Theological debates with rejectors? Pass
🤔 Every once in awhile it does our human brain and heart good to read fiction; a means of escape and/or abstract imagination. This sometimes leads to ingenious, modern ideas and advancement! Thus, contrary to what Wally blabbers, it is often a very good thing to be challenged and critiqued — “flint sharpens flint.”
This was a very interesting curious fiction Mel. Despite the fact that the actual historical and contextual facts and evidence do not support your many presuppositions here, I did grin and smile. Not all theatrical performances are a waste of money if they make you chuckle. 😉
But everyone’s a little different. 7.6+ billion people different! Natural selection works all that out quite well.
Hope you’ve had a good weekend Mel. Best regards.
No problem, Taboo. Your curious fiction makes me grin and chuckle, too.
🙂 In the end we all operate in the exact same reality; one has no special advantages over the next. I think any omniscient god knows that’s true.
“That is because Allah is the (only) truth and because whatever else they invoke besides Him is Falsehood; and because Allah,- He is the Most High, Most Great.” – Quran 31:30
“Truth has come and Batil has vanished. Surely! Batil is ever bound to vanish.” – Quran 17:81
“Abandon all varieties of dharmas and simply surrender unto me alone. I shall liberate you from all sinful reactions; do not fear.” — Bhagavad Gita 18:66
And, yet, they all understand that it’s incoherent to postulate that there is no God. It takes an atheist to live without purpose with no explanation for their continuing existence.
I’ll keep being polite here and just say that’s highly debatable Mel (if not, pure fallacy) and has been for several millenia. You yourself will never pinpoint or nail the “incoherency” to one thing any more than another individual could try. You are swimming in the middle Pacific Ocean for months or your life if you cling to that life-jacket. Btw, remember… I told you 3-4 times… I am not an atheist. Is that salt water infecting your memory? 😉
I didn’t say you were an atheist. I said (people who don’t believe in God) have an incoherent ontology. I’ve explained why several times in great detail so I don’t think I need to repeat it. But, of course, you’re free to believe whatever you want.
You implied it Mel, consciously or subconsciously. Otherwise, there was no need to use the term in this discussion.
I will respectfully suggest that you gain a basic understanding of the relational distinctions between Reflexivity, Monism, Reflexive Monism, and Quantum Entanglement. These four independent paradigms sometimes operate with each other, however, are always independent. What’s more fascinating is that Monism — in comparison to the other three — is essentially an antiquated ancient paradigm and is known today to no longer exist in any significant manner except in Classial Antiquity.
To be crystal clear for others here unfamiliar with these experiential and cognitive (consciousness) paradigms, Monism represents the ancient, antiquated Abrahamic religions or any sort of monistic “divine revelations” to humanity… general, special, or otherwise.
Why should it bother you so much? Actually, I was responding to your insinuations about various forms of theism. Whether we agree with their theology or not, at least their ontology is solid, build on the same foundation as Christianity. But, unless whatever you want to call yourself believes in a “ground of all being” (which we would call “God”) your ontology is exactly that of an atheist. And it’s incoherent. Why so? Because from the fairly elementary observation that nothing contingent, composite, finite, temporal, complex, and mutable can account for its own existence, and that even an infinite series of such things can never be the source or ground of its own being, but must depend on some source of actuality beyond itself.
Of course, whatever. I have a basic understanding of those things, but all these things are STILL in the realm of the contingent, composite, finite, temporal, complex, and mutable that cannot account for their own existence.
LOL! I always crack up when anti-Christians use the word, “antiquated.” Yeah, if it’s old it must be bad. We know better now! After all, modern science has pushed them all out of the way in the name of progress! What’s actually sad is that you think that natural science or quantum physics, M-theory, panpsychism, whatever floats your boat, can even address these things at all. Sure, we’ve gotten rid of the “antiquated” religious superstitions of “God of the gaps” theology but that was mostly pagan anyway. The greatest world religions never believed in a god of the gaps. And, again, these things don’t address the existence of God at all.
It doesn’t. Was pointing out how poorly you try to understand people who are different than you, even after many months (a year?) visiting here. You make no effort to understand. That’s the point. Now, back on topic…
Not true at all. There are loads of facts and evidence that prove AND plausibly show that even the core precepts of Greco-Roman Christianity are false, distorted, and representative of nothing that Second Temple Judaism/Messianism (Jesus and his Movement) were in reality. Myself along with a litany of scholarship can show this if necessary. Today, it isn’t a debate.
Ah, some Aristotelianism metaphysics mixed with Plotinus and Aquinas dribblings. Also, it seems you are quoting directly from the obfuscations of David B. Hart’s work (Believe It or Not? FirstThings.com?) who and all enamours you. Interesting, but not surprising. So I will follow suit with one counter-point to your Hart’s flaws and copy/paste as you did. From Galen L. Rose, “The Games Theologians Play“:
But I have no interest in going way off into rabbit-holes with you here in comments Mel; that would be a waste of time. However, I will briefly say this: You fail to grasp your own or human limitations of observation/perception. In a nutshell or discipline of philosophy and examination, this is called Agnotology. For a more simplified non-obfuscated-theological mumbo-jumbo, the basic taxonomy of ALL human ignorance transgenerationally, including you and your theologians/philosophers you constantly quote:
• Native or Innocent State is the first class and it defines ignorance that is a deficit to overcome, or something to grow out of, as a naive child would eventually learn that getting 8-hours of sleep per day is actually beneficial in the long-term, or that lying necessarily leads to more lying.
• Time and Mental Constraints is the next class. We [Mel and I included] cannot possibly study and understand all things. We must leave some alone, select what subjects deserve our needs and attention. As a result, this form of ignorance is a product of inattention and can be lost for a period of time or forever.
• Moral-Exemplary Caution is the third class and it includes ignorance for the sake of survival, protections, or mental, physical, and emotional stability. For example, jurors in court for a criminal case are strongly urged to remain ignorant (unbiased) to publicized facts, rumors, opinions, or news stories about their case. The various cinema movie-ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America currently have five designations for films suited to particular age groups. Which uranium and plutonium combinations are highly classified so as not to fall into the wrong unethical hands. And certain forms of torture on prisoners have specific classifications.
• Strategic Subterfuge is the last classification of ignorance and the hardest to detect in real-time. Two prime examples of strategic subterfuge would be the World War II Allied Manhattan Project from 1942-46 and Operation Fortitude/Bodyguard in 1943-44, both highly successful webs of deception that shortened the war with Germany and Japan.
Wrong again. You are obviously unfamiliar with a basic understanding of the relational distinctions between Reflexivity, Monism, Reflexive Monism, and Quantum Entanglement. Go back and restudy them, if you have in the first place. While doing your restudy, approach them, analyze them from at least the standpoint of impermanence. It becomes crystal clear that other than Monism, the other three disciplines sufficiently show impermanence rules, not immutability.
On your Aristotelianism metaphysics mixed with Plotinus and Aquinas dribblings:
This will be all I’ll go into with you here. I’ve provided MORE than enough for someone truly equitable about how we humans can actually obtain knowledge in equal light of our ignorance — the essense of consciousness. Remaining stagnate in antiquated paradigms is a sure fire way to extinction, which is indeed what has happened and is happening to Christology/Christianity. Thus, it is up to every individual to do their legwork and homework — i.e. like the frog in the frying pan unaware of the rising heat — and do it earnestly and with relentless diligence.
Have a good week Mel.
Since you wrote a book here I will have to look at it when I get back home later this week.
You don’t have to. I doubt you’ll put forth any effort to read all it says explicitly or what it also infers. This was done to encourage your viewers and commentors to think and rethink their indoctrination. 🙂
Rethink and read your particular indoctrination, you mean. Taboo, if all you want to do is dump your toxic poison here, there’s no point in you coming here at all.
It is not toxic. It is informative, factual, plausible and alternative viewpoints and counter-viewpoints to your personal claims and those of historical Hellenic-Pauline Christology, or Christianity.
Now, if you want to censor viewpoints that differ from yours, then of course as the blog-owner that is your prerogative. Make your blog private and “by membership only” as I’ve suggested to you several times in the past. 🙂
I want to have conversations with people who actually talk to me not trolls who come evangelize their anti-Christian dogma.
Then see my previous comment.
Have a good week Mel.
“What’s more fascinating is that Monism — in comparison to the other three — is essentially an antiquated ancient paradigm and is known today to no longer exist in any significant manner except in Classial Antiquity…”
LOL! Well actually, monism is alive and well in this very thread! In philosophy monism is very close to solipsism, so like, “the view that reality consists of one fundamental, ultimate essence.” That essence would be Me! More me! Me, me,me…
Also, I’m pretty sure one is not allowed to have an “experiential and cognitive (consciousness) paradigm,” without a consciousness? In fact, I’m not even sure an atheist immersed in monism can have a “paradigm?” How does that even work? Do you just have a conflict with your own self?
Read the last reply above to Mel. Perhaps you’ll grasp it IB, perhaps not. I suspect the latter for you. LOL
Enjoy your week.
Just the encouragement I was looking for. Do you mind if I share with my readers?
I’m glad you were encouraged. Yes, you can share it. 🙂
I LOVE THAT SONG