Living daily in reality – that’s what we all want to do! But what is reality? Is it just what we face in our jobs – getting enough money to keep us working so that we can have children so that they can grow up like us to get jobs so that they can repeat the whole thing all over again until we all cease to exist? Or is there some real reality behind this world that we see around us?
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Day 16: God’s Forbearance - default
Day 16: Living Daily in Reality: God’s Forbearance ==================================================We have been talking about what reality truly is, and we’ve said in these first fifteen segments that the most cohesive and believable explanation seems to come from a unique human being who lived in the first century of our era – a man known in history as Jesus of Nazareth. Through his own words and his life (that continued even after he was executed) he told us that we were actually made by his Father in the eternity or infinity that our scientists have glimpsed through Einstein’s theory of relativity. He said that His Father made us inside him because he wanted us to share the life and free will that he himself had.We, of course, have had no interest in doing that and instead have tried to get satisfaction from the planet on which he has placed us. However, the Creator knows what he has made, and he foresaw the Catch 22 we would get ourselves into – using the gift of free will to reject the only source of life there is and thus putting ourselves in the kind of world we have since created. The longer this world goes on, the more it becomes a hell that utterly contradicts and destroys the heaven of love and peace that Jesus and the Creator enjoy together.Only now do we see why we were made inside this son of our Creator – He is in each one of us and is the urge to goodness that even the worst of us feel at times. He said ” you in me and I in you” – in other words this creator of ours has resolved to stay with us – to continue to put up with what we do and say even though it is a daily agony for him as we trample on others and are trampled ourselves. Nevertheless our Maker has resolved to continue inside us until we turn from our temporary sources of love and at last believe that he is. All the time His Son endeavors to live in us and through us the life that each of us were made for – this explains, of course, why we all do good at times even in the midst of the selfishness by which we try to destroy everything but ourselves. It also explains why the world is an increasing hell lightened at times by its original beauty and serenity.But why does our creator allow even his own life to be imperilled by us? Because he himself made us out of love for us and a desire that we would experience the same love – freely because we chose it NOT because we couldn’t do otherwise. That basic fact is how we know that even his foreknowledge of what we will do is used by his providence in such a way that the choice is ours. He will not force us against our wills – otherwise his very love is limited. So – day by day – a loving father knows every move you will make and does everything possible to guide you through his son’s attitude within you BUT he will not force your will. What is the result of this reality in your life? Let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Day 17: Free Will - default
Day 17: Living Daily in Reality: Free Will ==========================================When you talk about living in reality, you’re really talking about living in two worlds – there’s the world around us with all its wrongs and disasters and chaos; On the other hand there’s the world that we long for and try to create.And even these two worlds are found in our own personal experience, because inside us we find an urge to do good and be kind and unselfish; but inside us there is also another part of us that wants its own way whatever the cost and is full of bad thoughts and desires.We’ve been sharing that the son of the creator of the universe actually lived here about 2000 years ago and explained to us the reason for these two worlds. He said that his father made all of us – you yourself – inside him so that we could choose to be like him and live with him in love OR we could live alone ourselves and face the consequences. The result is this world that we see around us AND the dichotomy or double-mindedness that we see within us.Our maker made it like this because he actually does care about you and me and wanted us to choose with our own wills whether to live with him and let him live in us or not. “Not” of course means nothingness because there is no life apart from him – but he wanted us to have the right to choose even that if we wanted to. This is why he also made us like himself and put his son’s spirit within us – so that we could taste what it’s like for him to live in us and for us to live with him.He, of course, knows the life he has planned for himself in you – and he knows what you will do, yet he stands back, takes his hands off the wheel of your life, and bears in himself and in others the results of your actions and attitudes. Yet, all the time he is bringing about circumstances and nudging you in different ways towards his will for your life. But if he ever forces your will his way, he loses the whole purpose for creating you – your freely returned love!So all our lives are mixtures of the things we do that our maker’s son is doing through us with our acquiescence and things that we do independent of him; these latter things are what Christ talked about when he said that God “works all things according to the counsel of his will”. So our lives are a complex combination of independent and co-operative decisions designed to draw us patiently towards the great mind and heart that designed our lives. They proceed by best and worse turns to the end that our Creator has always had in mind for each of us.
Day 18: A New Kind of Life - default
Day 18: Living Daily in Reality: A New Kind of Life ===================================================Reality is that God made you as part of his Son who lived here on the earth as Jesus of Nazareth in the first century. He existed in eternity outside our time-space world – and you were created inside him there. He had his own physical body then, but now he exists in your body to do certain things his Father has planned for you. This is what his apostle Paul wrote to the people in Ephesus in 52 a.d. “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.God wants us to follow his son’s directions within us; but his love for you is real – so he has committed himself to bear whatever you choose or whatever you reject! That’s why an old prophet wrote “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning”. But the creator has planned the life his Son wishes to live in you, so he has kept you within himself so that (like a mother with an unborn child) he bears all your sins – feels all your hatreds and pains, resentments and embarrassments. And all the time he endeavors to draw you into fulfilling his plan for you – creates circumstances and opportunities wherever he can without coercing the human will.This was the meaning of his Son’s crucifixion in Jerusalem – it was really the physical expression in time-space of his own agony throughout all the centuries – a declaration that he would bear what we inflicted – up to death itself. Past that he could not go or all would cease to exist!This then is who you are and who Jesus Christ is! He is not only a prophet – not a mantra or magic word that gets you into some religious club or church – not a mere historical figure to imitate or study. He is the one in whom you exist – his breath is what keeps you alive – his energy circulates your blood – by his continued good will, you continue to exist! And every moment he stands quietly by your side – remaining in the shadows until you acknowledge him.Far from being a nobody – you are part of the Maker of the universe – because he made you in his own son. Of course, because God made you, he knew you would choose to depend on yourself and others, and would become a pathetic, fearful or defiant parody of what he himself is; so we would see this, he has allowed us to become that in our present life. But because he is infinite and sees all the past and the future as one present moment, he bore in his son the temporal, self-absorbed personality of all of us and made us again as we were in the beginning – part of himself and his son. Because of this action of his, we can live in that reality here in the midst of time and space – the moment we accept this reality mentally and volitionally, we are translated into the eternal life of Christ.How does this life in reality differ from the life most of us live day by day? Let’s talk now about that.
Day 19: God’s Action - default
Day 19: Living Daily in Reality: God’s Action =============================================How does the life we have been describing differ from the day to day life most of us are living? If you want to refresh your memory on the intellectual basis for what we are saying in these discussions, please do view again (or read) Days 1 to 6: this will help you to see that Christ is the being inside whom we all exist. When you do that, you’ll begin to understand why Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians (2:4-10) “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (by grace you have been saved) that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”.In other words, God created us in his Son so that he himself would bear personally every affront and trespass that he foreknew would be inflicted by the free will of every human-being that would ever exist. And despite that infinite pain, he lifted us out of time-space and remade us in eternity in his Son. This present world is our temporal, fallen state – but our actual, eternal state exists now in Christ. If we live as if we are dependent on the world for our needs, then we experience the limitations of that; if we live in dependence on the life of the Creator’s son, then we experience the limitlessness of that.Our real choice, then, is between the deformed creature we have become through our dependent attitude to the world or the original being we were re-created in Christ. The deformed, perverted old self cannot free itself from a slavish dependency on the temporal world and the original re-created being can only take its place through our embracing of it in Christ. Thus faith creates nothing – it simply accepts and treats as real or it rejects and treats as unreal; in that sense, our attitude determines everything in our lives.Can we clearly distinguish which version of ourselves we are living in? Let’s talk about this next time.
Day 20: Two Environments - default
Day 20: Living Daily in Reality: Two Environments =================================================We’ve been talking about reality – and living in it every day. We’ve said that reality is that you personally have a loving Father who made you in his only son so that he could live the life that he has planned; so his son is working to complete his creation through you and in you. So obviously living daily in reality means depending on this son of our creator inside us. How can we do that? Is there a great difference between going to the world around us and going to the eternal world beyond time-space? The difference is huge in our own attitudes and huge in the two powers unleashed in our lives!Early in your life, you begin to realize you will not always have your parents with you. You realize you’ll have to provide your own clothes and food and shelter if you are to have any security in this world. But there are at least 6 billion other human beings who are trying to get their share of the world’s food and shelter so you begin the long battle for a good job and adequate salary. You soon get used to feelings of anxiety about exams and bank accounts; you also get to know that unpleasant feelings like envy and selfishness can rise up within you as you struggle to get as many things as you need to live.It’s the same when you come to understand that other people don’t think as much of you as your parents. You seemed to them the most wonderful person in the world and they often treated you like that, but suddenly you see that other people often don’t even notice you. You begin to feel you’re just a cipher – a number – a little nothing among the billions of other people who are also feeling the same way. So begins your great struggle for attention and recognition. You find yourself drawing attention to your achievements in boastful conversation, and you start the age-old game of criticizing others to make yourself look good. It’s then that you discover the inner drive of pride and jealousy as you try to beat others who are themselves struggling to establish their significance. Everyone seems to be trying to be the most famous – and you despair of your own nothingness.When you were a child some of your happiest times were when you were out with your parents for the day – you were carefree, utterly safe in their keeping and just using your little abilities to play or read. Soon you yearn for that little mixture of contentment and excitement that you used to feel then. Then you start the search for that happiness in your adult life, and soon you find that the desire to enjoy peace and excitement is forcing you into living for the weekend break or the emotional thrill or the nothingness of unconsciousness. You know that it’s a lie that changing your circumstances will bring happiness, but somehow you can’t see any other way to get relief from boredom or dissipation.Most of us have experienced some or all of these feelings as we’re livedlike everyone else – depending on things for our security, people for our sense of significance, and circumstances for our happiness. Let’s talk next about the effects of this on our personalities.HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?My life flows on in endless song Above earth’s lamentation; I hear the real though distant hymn That hails a new creationNo storm can shake my calm repose While to this rock I’m clinging: If Christ is Lord of heaven and earth How can I keep from singing?What though my joys and comforts die! I know my Savior liveth; What though the darkness round me lie! Songs in the night he givethI lift my eyes – the cloud grows thin, I see the blue above it; And day by day this pathway smoothes Since first I learned to love it.The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart A fountain ever springing All things are mine since I am His How can I keep from singing?
Day 21: The Effects of Our Environment - default
Day 21: Living Daily in Reality: The Effects of our Environment ===============================================================Living in reality is totally different from the life that most of us live each day. But living in unreality has deadly consequences and effects that spoil and shorten your life. Your life is probably like everyone else’s – at least eight hours each day is taken up by work – which you need in order to get the money required to keep body and soul together. If you don’t work you can’t get the food, shelter and clothing and you need these things to stay alive. But somehow you never get enough of these things to make you feel really secure. Even billionaires will often say they’d be content if they had just another million! We find ourselves thinking the same way about our home or our car or our job or our food or our clothes. Moreover, even when we have all those just right, we still find ourselves anxious about tomorrow or the market or old age. Real security inside still seems impossible.It’s the same with our self-esteem or – rather – others’ esteem of us. We are never completely at ease with our place in society or the world. We still have feelings of insignificance or inferiority that stir up those old dragons of envy, jealousy, and pride. We are still driven in our conversations and actions by a desire to look good in other people’s eyes. At times we are driven almost to despair by the thought that we are merely a little bit of nothing floating in the vast reaches of a limitless eternity – a feeling that we mean nothing to anybody and will be forgotten forever once we die!The search for happiness becomes wearisome as the years go by. The old excitements we used to find in adventure or sex or money seem to have lost their thrill. And we think it’s harder to feel utter peace and contentment than it was years ago. Besides — the sheer instability of the world is constantly breaking in upon your own inner experience so that it’s difficult to separate yourself from the outside noise and chaos.All of these disappointing experiences affect our own selves. We find the drive to acquire enough things verges on greed and anxious fear that keep us awake at night; the drive for some sense of significance fills us with a restless desire for more success, more approval, more recognition, more envy of others and their success; and our hunger for happiness drives many of us to excess in alcohol, drugs, or sexual experience so that we’re no longer in charge of our own bodies.But the most unbearable part for many is the overwhelming sense of loneliness and futility when we face the question – is this all there is? What’s this wild race for, anyway? What’s the point of it all? As Housman wrote:Yonder see the morning blink, The sun is up and up must I,To wash and dress and eat and drink, To look at things and talk and think, And work – and God knows why!Let’s talk about this again.
Day 22: Our Real Environment - default
Day 22: Living Daily in Reality: Our Real Environment =====================================================Living daily in reality means living in things as they really are. Yesterday we talked about the futility of life when it’s lived in a closed universe, i.e. when you think that reality is this little earth spinning through limitless space with no comprehensible origin or purpose. It seems impossible to get from the things, people, and circumstances around us the security, significance, and happiness that we seem to need. What is our real environment?The reality is that you personally have a loving Father who made you in his only son so that he could live the life in you that he planned. His only son explained this all to us when he lived on this earth in the first century – you remember we talked about the historicity of this in Days 1-6 of our early conversations. He said “therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”But most of us have rejected this reality and ignored any attempt of the creator’s Son to live in us. We are full of ourselves and our needs and desires, and have become little willful egotists who regard God as a myth. Because our creator knows there is no one except him and because he loves us and has given us free will, he has allowed us to spoil the world if we wish and to despise and hurt him and ourselves in his son. But in his great mercy he has limited that by creating time while in eternity he has forgiven and put his son within us. The result is that each of us may choose unreality or reality, life on our own or Christ’s life in us, this transient life or eternal life, life as it seems to be or life as it really is.
Day 23: The Reconciliation - default
Day 23: Living Daily in Reality: The Reconciliation ===================================================Living daily in reality is letting the son of our creator live through us the life his father has planned for you and for me. But we despise that whole reality and shift for ourselves – we never think of God living in us and wouldn’t put up with it if we got the chance. So we have all lived a life of unreality – regarding ourselves as somehow self-made and independent of any visible support. Thus we have become little egotistic automatons doing our own thing – using whomever or whatever we need to make ourselves successful. The result is a world that is strained and stressed – swaying between a half-hearted happiness and absolute despair. We bounce from war to war through the centuries – relieved only by the unusual good actions of some power that seems to work in odd people like Churchill or Roosevelt or Barnardo or Sister Teresa.Why would a real creator ever make such a bunch of losers and such a chaotic world?The fact is, as you can guess, that our creator knows what he has made – he knows that the only way his son can live a unique life in each one of us is if we are willing. His son obeys him because he loves him and he loves him because he is free. It will be the same with us, so our creator gave us freedom to reject him if we wished so that we would have a real choice between life in him or nothingness without him. He knew we would choose nothingness and he, in love, committed himself to bearing that and all its consequences inside his son. That’s how it’s expressed in the Bible in Ephesians 1:4 ‘even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world’. Our creator determined that he would bear the full agony (a moment in eternity but in time thousands of years) of separation from his son’s humanity in its rejection of him. This maintenance of the unity of his own nature – by bearing fully in himself the effects of the free will he had himself created – made possible our own destruction and re-creation. So, here in time we have a choice between our old rebelled nature and our remade one in Christ.Our creator cannot ‘play with his creation’ – he cannot pretend he is loving and then allow us to hate while he remains untouched. When he made us inside his own son he committed himself to destroying hatred or bearing it until it was transformed. Thus he bears the fear and pain of the last man killed today in battle – and at the same time he bears his own pain at the anger and cruelty of the one who did the killing. By holding together these irreconcilable attitudes he is able to remake your nature and give you the chance to live in it.So today there is only one reality – the one created by our maker in his son from before the beginning of time. That is you, foreseen by him in your rejection of him and your choice of yourself, destroyed in eternity in his son and remade in his son. The other apparent choice we see aroundus is a flash-back: it’s the morning-after-the-night-before: it’s life as it would be without God. The only present reality waits for you to choose it!
Day 24: Time and Eternity - default
Day 24: Living Daily in Reality: Time and Eternity ==================================================Reality is that you and I were made to enjoy the same kind of life as the son of the creator of the universe. We weren’t made to live the little pokey, petty, self-centered life that many of us drift into. We were made to be actual willing containers or cohabitants with God’s own son in our personalities. When we refuse that, we become uncontrollable egotistic dictators who want what we want – even if it destroys others’ freedom and happiness. This explains why we destroy our marriages, kill each other, make life hard for one another, grab whatever we want when we want it, and generally turn ourselves into anti-social morons.Our maker has not been caught out by this – he knew what he had made and he foreknew what we would do with our free wills. This is why he made us in his own son – so that we would continue to exist despite our contempt for him. He himself resolved to bear in himself and his son our hostile attitude and pride while we continued to exist in the mess we made of his world. This was not just to punish us as we have punished him but so that we would see and experience what life without him is like. That’s why this world is so chaotic – he made it good – we’ve made it bad – with our selfishness and ill-treatment of the world itself. So the present earth gives us a clear picture of what life on our own would be while life lived by our maker’s son in us is the reality that exists in eternity – in the timeless, space-less world of infinity that modern physics is beginning to point to. That is reality – and we move into it the moment we believe it and act accordingly.In other words, unreality is the present life of the world that is governed by human irresponsibility and selfish will; it is life without God. Reality is the life in his son that God made us for and this life really does exist in this present moment of eternity. The only way to bring eternity into time is to believe the fact that it is reality and to live accordingly. Only then is the life of the creator’s son experienced by you and me. The life we live now is like the shadow or cinder-life that appeared a second after the nuclear explosion – it can be shattered by touching it. Which is why Paul wrote in Romans 6:11 “consider yourselves dead to sin (life without God) and alive to God in Christ Jesus” and in Colossians 3:3 “for you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God”.There are two versions of you – so that you can choose which you want. Your present life is the one you live yourself and the one our creator permits for us so that we see that option plainly, but the real one exists now in eternity and is experienced the moment you really embrace it in our maker’s son. How do you embrace it? Let’s talk about this next time.
Day 25: Eternity in Time - default
Day 25: Living Daily in Reality: Eternity in Time =================================================Our creator is not some cosmic toy-maker who makes billions of human-beings, gives them free will and then stands back to observe the results. He is a loving father who foreknew in a millisecond all the consequences of the free decisions of billions of us through the centuries. He bore them all personally in his son, could then negate them and their cosmic effects, and mercifully made us all again in him. He then expressed that eternal event in time in his son’s death in Palestine in the first century. So we are now free to see in this present world the effects of our decisions and to choose our original creations instead.This is the meaning of profound statements in the Bible like “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them…he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree….our old self was crucified with him….with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day”. But how do we change? Many of us have tried to live independent of the world’s things, people, and circumstances and depend on our creator for our needs, but we’ve found it impossible.The only way for us to live in reality is to believe our creator is who he says he is and has done what he says he has done. Just as in our day-to- day lives we live in things as they are, so it is in time and eternity. Only our maker can actualize in time what he has done in eternity – this is the meaning of that paradoxical Biblical statement “at the east of the garden of Eden…a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life”. Our part is obvious – simply live in eternity – in accordance with the change our creator has wrought in us in his son’s death. If we live in that daily, then he actualizes the eternal event in our present lives.So there is no mystery about living in reality – it is not just an ascetic self-discipline of our evil tendencies or a life-long ethical slog or a self-directed dependence on how-to books or an esoteric mysticism which tries to believe what isn’t true. Faith creates nothing – it simply accepts reality and lives accordingly.In other words, living in reality means letting our creator’s son, Jesus Christ, live in us the life his father has planned, i.e. a life where his spirit daily depends on his father for the security, significance, and happiness that his love and friendship give us. This means daily dying the death that he died for us to things, people and circumstances in our ordinary lives – the result is the activity of his spirit in our lives so that “he works all things according to the counsel of his will” and “all things work together for good to those who love God”.This means a life that works from the inside out instead of from theoutside in. All of us are aware of our bodies and most of us are aware of our minds and feelings, but only a few of us are aware of our spirits. Sometimes in the quietness of a summer afternoon in the country or the darkness of a starlit night we – like the poet Wordsworth – “have feltA presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply inter-fused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thoughts, And rolls through all things.”This is the part of our personalities that our creator has brought to life when he raised us up in his son. Reality is believing that and living from the inside out each day – from the level of our spirit out through our souls and bodies. Let’s talk about this kind of life during these next days.
Day 26: A Corrupted World - default
Day 26: Living Daily in Reality: A Corrupted World ==================================================Your personal father is not your human Dad – your personal father is your creator.Â He made you like himself and put the spirit of his only Son into you – this is â€œthe light that lightens every man that comes into the worldâ€(cid:157); this is the good that you feel rising at times inside yourself. Watch the first six segments of this series so that you understand the intellectual basis in history for what we’re saying here.You, of course, like the rest of us have used our freedom to keep this spirit of God within us damped down so that we could live independent of our Maker. But this has made us utterly dependent on the world around us – its things for our security, its circumstances for our happiness, and other people for our significance or celebrity status. The result is that our personalities have been corrupted so that we cannot do the good that we want, but repeatedly do what inside we really want to do.Our maker knew this would happen but did not want robots who loved him just because they had to; He wanted dear children who would love Him because he loved them. This meant he had to experience himself the worst that they chose to do and be; not only had they to see and experience what he was not – but He himself had to bear that in them. This meant His own death – it meant experiencing all that He Himself was not! And, if we were to have the chance to actually live and love with Him, it meant His making us then what he wanted us to be – after we had experienced life without Him.This is our situation in this world. It is life without its maker – life mutilated and corrupted by humanity living off the creation rather than the creator. Our maker â€œsubjected the creation to futilityâ€(cid:157) through our abuse of nature and each other so that we would see and experience first-hand the death that existed outside Him. Just think of it for a moment – how would you make other living beings who could love you freely because they wanted to and not because they had to. How would you give them the opportunity to really choose you freely if there was no other existence outside you?Â Even more than that – how would you keep them alive if there was no other life than yours?Â Â And how could you bear the pain of death that would be inflicted upon you if you stayed with them as they lived in the midst of the death that exists outside you? Then imagine what it would be like if their existence continued only because they were part of your only son and it was him who bore their destruction to shield them from extinction!This present fallen world is what life is like without our dear Father – except that it is ameliorated and made bearable by the life of his son’s spirit which continues the moderating effect of his spirit. Wherever this is accepted or exercised without coercing our human wills our creator is able to restrain the devastation wrought by our autonomouslives. Thus the present world is â€œsubjected to futilityâ€(cid:157) so that we can see what life would be like without God as against the life of his son manifested from time to time.Â Far from being a perfect world – this is planned by our creator to be a graphic picture of the kind of world that our autonomy produces so that we personally can see the difference between just a knowledge of good and evil and the life of his own nature within us.Â Â ÂBy living in such a world we see how our own personality is warped and corrupted by the environment we create. So, when we try to live independent of his life and love by getting life and love from the world itself, we discover that our nature becomes so corrupt that we cannot depend on him even when we wish. How can you be freed from your dependence on things for your security, circumstances for your happiness and people for your significance? Let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Day 27: Flashback or Eternal Present? - default
Day 27: Living Daily in Reality: Flashback or Eternal Present? =============================================================Why does it seem easier to do wrong than right?Â Â Why does our self-esteem depend more on the approval of other mortal human beings like ourselves rather than on the one really significant other who made us?Â Â Why do our eyes seek the eyes of others to see if they approve of us?Â Â Why are we stimulated to draw attention to ourselves when we see the adulation given to celebrities?Â Â Why do we find it impossible to free ourselves from the lie that changed circumstances will make us happy?Â Â Why do we find it impossible to stop worrying when our bank balance goes down or our house burns down?Â Â Â Why do we strike out at others if they express dislike of us?Â And why do we find it impossible to change these attitudes?Because we find our natures have become corrupted by this choice we have made – this desire to be independent of our maker by depending on his creation for our needs. Years ago the scholars explained that we were totally depraved – what they meant was that our whole beings and personalities have become corrupted by our life-style.Â There is only death – lack of life – outside the one who made us.Â Â When we choose that autonomy or independence – what is called sin – with an â€œIâ€(cid:157) right in the middle – we experience all the destruction of death throughout our being. It touches everything and spoils every part of our personalities and life.Â Â Â Faced with this situation we do what every drowning person does: we struggle to save ourselves from the engulfing egotism. And we struggle with the only thing we have – our own minds and emotions and wills; but the problem is that they are now corrupted and depraved and twisted out of shape by their very activity. So even our minds are impaired just as our emotions are unbalanced and our wills weakened: this is what the Bible means when it states that â€œthe mind of the flesh is enmity against God, it is not subject to his law, neither indeed can it beâ€(cid:157).But we continue to struggle – incorrigibly independent! So we write our â€œhow toâ€(cid:157) books, we indulge in our own power of positive thinking. We will even use our maker’s son as a stirring example by asking â€œwhat would Jesus doâ€(cid:157). But in this situation â€œthe struggle nought availethâ€(cid:157) – we sink deeper into our egocentricity because our whole being is under the sentence of death that God’s own life exerts against all that opposes what he himself is. It is not his nature that we need – it is him himself; it is not principles that we need but a person – it is not Christian ideas that we need, but Christ himself. God can only replace us with his own son if he first bears all the consequences that follow his giving us free will. He has to face his own rejection by us if he is to give us a real chance to destroy him. This is what happened in the timeless, space-less world of eternity – where it is said that Christ was crucified from before the foundation of the world. In eternity – before time began – our infinite Maker foresaw what we would all dowith our free wills -Â He foresaw that we would choose to rid ourselves of the only source of our own existence – and He resolved to experience that actual agony himself inside each of us as we had been created inside his only Son.Â Â This is why it is said that â€œour old self was crucified with him so that we might be no longer enslaved to sinâ€(cid:157) and our own egocentricity.Â Because the perverted egotist that you would become was crucified in that cosmic death that God bore for us so that we would have a choice – the reality of depending on him or the unreality of depending on things and people and circumstances! So our choice is to continue the death-life of this present world – which is really a flash-back to what life without God is like – although our maker himself has borne its whole life in his own son whom he has put in each one of us.Â Â And because he has borne all of its sin personally he is able to actualize in time what was done in eternity – destroy our corrupted personalities and replace them with his own son’s.Only that exchange between us and his son will deliver us from our perverted lives -Â only our maker can remake us – what we need is a total refit – a complete remake.Â Â We will never bring it about by the clever use of our own minds – they are enmity against God – not subject to his law, nor can they be.Â Â Our only hope is that we â€œhave that mind in us that we have in Christ Jesus, who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a crossâ€(cid:157).Â Our release from the entanglements of ourselves can only be wrought by God himself if we accept that all that we are has been destroyed in his son just as we were originally made in him.Â Â Only then are we able to â€œhave that mind in us that we have in Christ Jesus”.Â Â Â And only when we abandon ourselves and accept him as the real owner of this life – only then can this corrupted nature be replaced by the divine one.
Day 28: Man’s Praise or God’s? - default
Day 28: Living Daily in Reality: Man’s Praise or God’s?Living daily in reality means that you have to first decide what reality is. Is it that this earth has resulted from a mindless, impersonal collision of atoms or that it was created by an intelligent superior being. As we’ve studied the history of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth, we’ve accepted that his father made the earth and made each one of us as part of Him. We are here for Him to do through us what his father wants done here on earth. Our fulfillment comes from co-operating with his spirit inside us to bring this about.When we ignore that we end up trying to get from the earth itself the love that our maker has for us; so we try to shore up our low self-esteem by drawing attention to ourselves in conversation or criticizing someone else to make ourselves look good. Because we miss the reality that our maker cares about us and watches over our lives we strive to get secure jobs that will supply our needs, but we never seem able to establish a permanent sense of security by this means. The result is our personalities become corrupted by this slavish dependence of things and other people until we find we can’t escape these strong selfish motives and self-centered attitudes – even after we’ve begun to believe that there is really a loving father who has made us in his son!Our maker knew this would happen, so he has seen all this already in his mind’s eye – before we ever appeared on the earth. He played the whole thing through in the reality of eternity – bore all the pain and death that we spread by our egocentric lives – bore it all in his son in whom we were made – so that here on earth we could experience a new start. That start begins when you see that this present world is the world as it would have been if God had not destroyed it and remade it and us in his son. That’s the only way we can be delivered from our depraved enslavement to things and people and circumstances. Only God himself can actualize here in time the changed “you” that exists now in his son, Jesus Christ.This occurs whenever you believe it and behave accordingly. For instance, a problem situation develops in the office. One of your fellow-workers gives your boss a wrong impression about you and there’s just no way in which you can easily correct it. You see the effect of it every day in the way your boss obviously thinks about you. As this situation has hardened into permanence, your feeling about your job and the office has changed. You don’t look forward to going to work any more and your previous pleasant relationship with your boss has changed so that you find yourself with suspicions and doubts that never bothered you before. You’re read several “how to” books about changing your attitudes, you’ve tried some of the little conversational pieces that they recommend, but somehow your very own nature seems to be twisted out of shape in regard to this one thing.The basic flaw that holds this whole tangled web together is whose opinion counts in your mind. Your boss didn’t make you and he probably won’t be at your funeral – he certainly won’t be the first person you see after you die! Only one person will fill these spots. The one who made you – and he knew this whole thing would happen – just so that you would see what your whole existence would be like if you cared more of man’s opinion of you than his! This is the real issue – do you believe your Maker made you – inside his own son – and that this son bore your unbelief in God and your belief in man to death inside himself? Whenever you start to see that and face honestly whether you will accept Christ’s attitude to people’s opinion and concern only for his Father’s opinion – then his spirit will make real in you the change that God brought about in eternity.If you are honestly willing to face reality then you’ll begin to live in reality.
Day 29: Your Money or Your Life - default
Day 29: Living Daily in Reality: Your Money or Your Life?The reality of our life here on earth is that our creator is a loving father who made us as part of his only son so that we could continue to exist even as we tried nothingness rather than him. Throughout our lives in his son he has borne the consequences of our choice of nothingness – borne our sins and patiently kept us alive through his son’s life. The ancient history book called the Bible states that this son “was the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created – all things were created through him and for him; he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Thus you have the opportunity to freely accept the reality that you are part of your maker’s son who has a life to live through you or to reject that and choose nothingness instead. Meanwhile your loving father sustains your life and bears personally all the consequences of your choice in others’ lives. He has foreseen what you would do and mercifully counteracted it in his son so that he alone is able to “turn back the clock” on the effects of your choice if you accept reality.This reality and unreality show themselves in every area of our lives. An obvious one concerns our sense of security. Most of us see that food, shelter, and clothing are necessary for our lives. Although we’ve heard the old saying “look at the birds of the air – they do not sow or reap, and yet your heavenly father feeds them”, most of us have smiled sardonically and said ‘God helps those who help themselves’. So we go to it – get a good education to get a good job so that we can continue our existence and have children who can do the same thing over again. But we find there are six billion other human-beings doing this – and there’s only so much food, clothing, and shelter, so we determine we’ll get our share. But somehow we never get enough to make us feel secure or we get it but can’t be absolutely sure we’ll be able to hold on to it. So begins the life described by the British poet, Auden – “in headaches and in worry vaguely life leaks away”. We worry about the stock-market, our job security, our mortgages, our promotion, our retirement, our health – and on and on!Of course, we try to change our thinking – especially when we lie awake at night or take alka-seltzer to get rid of the knot in our stomachs when a large bill has to be paid. But, however we try, our minds seem now to be in a rut that we can’t get them out of. We try to think positively but keep sinking back into worry and anxiety about the finances, the job, the future – everything.Our maker knew this would happen to you – and the simple reality is that – in his son, Jesus (who died in the time of the first century on earth the death that he died in eternity when you were just an idea in God’s mind) this life that you have built on your own ability to be secure – he destroyed and remade in his son. This new life is your real one but requires you to be willing to let your old self be destroyed inJesus so that your new personality can begin to take its place.So you can stop struggling to stop worrying – what you have to do is live in reality – accept that you are in this son of your maker – that you were made in him and be willing to die to the things he died to for you. Are you deeply willing to die to your salary and job security as your main hope of success and happiness? Are you willing to accept what your maker has for you – maybe prosperity, maybe poverty? Are you willing to live on whatever God who feeds the birds of the air thinks is good for you? Are you willing to be the failure that everyone thought this Jesus was in his life?Will this give you what you want? Maybe not – but this is reality – and once you start living in it, your life has at last a chance.
Day 30: Happiness - default
Day 30: Living Daily in Reality: Happiness! ===========================================Living daily in reality means living as a lucky child of a loving father. That’s really who you are.Â The most reliable information we have about our origins is from the collection of history books known as â€˜ta biblia’ or â€˜the books’ in Greek.Â Â This Bible, based on thousands of ancient Greek manuscripts from the period of time when the events occurred, records the life of the human being who is the only son of our Creator.Â Â Look back at the first six segments of this series and examine there the facts in which this explanation of reality is based.This only son of our creator demonstrated by his own life and character that our creator is indeed a loving father who made you as part of his only son.Â Â Â His plan for you is that his only son would live in you and fill the earth with the peace and love that he (and you) received from our father.Â Â He intended that you would get up each day, look up to your dear father and realize you had before you a wonderful day in your father’s world.Â Â Â Your heart would rise in joy at the thought of all the things he had planned for you to do, knowing that they were natural because you had been given the appropriate abilities and interests.Â Â As the day progressed, you would find the particular job that enabled you to buy the clothes and food you needed and your interaction with your co-workers fulfilled your own love which you gave and received.Â Â So your happiness and contentment were complete as the day progressed.Â Â This was the way prepared for us as we daily filled the world with the generosity and peace of our creator.Â Â We struck oil from the ground through the balanced knowledge we developed of the earth as our unimpaired minds worked in concert with our peaceful relationship with our Maker.Â Â Â So our balanced emotions and active wills avoided the strain and pressure of competing with others and we enjoyed the delights of abilities mutually exercised to each other’s satisfaction.Instead of this reality, we have lived in the unreality that there is no loving father who has put his son’s spirit within us; we pretend we’re on our own and have to wrest from the world and other people whatever happiness we can.Â Â Our lives are often dominated by our struggle to fulfill our needs, and our very personalities have become so dependent on the world and our circumstances that we have no happiness that comes from our Maker’s friendship.Â Â Our happiness – or satisfaction with what happens to us – is spoiled by someone’s dislike or critical comments, by our loss of a job or car trouble, by our disagreements at home or our disappointments at work.Â Â Even when we think there may be a creator somewhere we find it impossible to look up to him or believe that.Â Â ÂBut our Maker knew all this, so right from the beginning he determined he would â€œput up with itâ€(cid:157) to give us the chance to come toour senses!Â Â That’s why he made us inside his own son, allowed all our autonomous lives to play out in him and bore the consequences; then he remade us and raised us up in his son so that his original plan could be fulfilled.Â Â That’s what he explained when he wrote through a man called Paul; â€œGod, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he has loved us – even when we were yet sinners – made us alive in Christ Jesus, and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places; that in the coming ages he might show forth the riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus, for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus, for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.â€(cid:157)Why can’t you just start living like that?Â Â Because your own personality is warped out of shape and corrupted by the life you’ve lived so far.Â Â Only your original maker can change that – and this is what he did in his own son – in the timeless world that Einstein and modern physicists posit.Â Â Only our maker can actualize in time what he wrought in eternity – but the moment you are willing to look to him for your happiness and die in him to the lie that good circumstances will make you happy – at that moment he will actualize in you the real happiness of his only son.HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?My life flows on in endless song Above earth’s lamentation; I hear the real though distant hymn That hails a new creationNo storm can shake my calm repose While to this rock I’m clinging: If Christ is Lord of heaven and earth How can I keep from singing?What though my joys and comforts die! I know my Savior liveth; What though the darkness round me lie! Songs in the night he givethI lift my eyes – the cloud grows thin, I see the blue above it; And day by day this pathway smoothes Since first I learned to love it.The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart A fountain ever springing All things are mine since I am His How can I keep from singing?