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Day 1: Living Daily in Reality - default
Day 1: Living Daily in Reality ============================== 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? Is this the sum-total of reality? Or is there some real reality behind this world that we see around us? I will tell you the answer I’ve come to?but only if we can talk a little more together so that I have the chance to explain why I think this. REALITY IS THAT YOU PERSONALLY HAVE A LOVING FATHER WHO CREATED THE UNIVERSE – HE MADE YOU INSIDE HIS ONLY SON SO THAT HE COULD LIVE A UNIQUE LIFE IN YOU HERE ON EARTH. That’s reality! Why do I say that? Because about 2,000 years ago there lived a man who was actually that son of the Creator of the universe. How do we know he lived on earth? The British Museum in London has the details of his life in two old manuscripts written just about 300 years after he lived in Palestine! And there are over 4,000 other Greek manuscripts that have the same details. Some of them are dated only 70 years after he died. But besides these, many of the people who knew him wrote and talked about him in their books and letters, and the actual garden in Jerusalem where he prayed his last prayers before he died still exists in the very place it was described almost 2000 years ago. So even though religious people have tried to turn this man into a mystical fairy-tale figure, the facts of his life and history are clearer and more certain than those of any other man of that time. Reality is that he existed with the Creator before the world was made – and that was when your existence was planned! But now, remember I asked you to think with me a little longer so that you can see I’m not some kind of crazy fanatic. So – why do I say all this? First, because he himself,the Son of our Creator, actually lived here on earth in the first century of our era i.e. he was born about 6 B.C. when the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, decreed that a census of the whole world should be taken. Quirinius was the governor of Syria, and a man called Joseph, who was the human father of this only son of our maker, had to go to the town, Bethlehem, where he had been born. These facts are all recorded in government records and accepted as history by dozens of contemporary writers, many of whom are not themselves religious people. Fifty years later (when many people were still alive who had been in Bethlehem at that time) the account of this Joseph and his miraculous son was circulating in written form throughout the first century world. So the history of this unique human-being’s life is inextricably intertwined with the local and national political and public figures of the Mediterranean world of the first century. In the thousands of historical records not one questions that this man actually lived on the earth at that time. Secondly, because the history of his actions and his words has been preserved so precisely one is compelled to respect and examine closely the authenticity of his explanation of reality. His death and return to life are attested and recorded by ordinary people and by scholars who died because of their eye-witness accounts. So the serious thinker has no option but to delve deeply into the words this person spoke about the Creator that he called Father. If you and I were actually made as part of our Creator? only Son, then our visit here on earth is only a small part of our real existence, and our whole life opens up into something far more spacious and limitless than we ever imagined. So, let’s think together about this again.
Day 2: Beyond Time - default
Day 2: Living Daily in Reality: Historicity of Christ ===================================================== We’re talking about living daily in reality – and we’ve been saying that reality was explained to us by a unique human being who lived in Palestine in the first century of our era. Although certain Western religions have tried to turn him into a figurehead for their particular beliefs, he himself was a well-known public figure to ordinary people and political leaders of the first century. Four different eye-witness accounts of his life were written and circulating throughout the Mediterranean world just twenty years after his execution by the Romans. The writers themselves were written about and quoted by dozens of contemporaries while the opposition of the authorities is part of the general literature and government records of the period. Eventually his explanation of reality was accepted by the Emperors of Rome and became the accepted explanation of reality for the known world. This Jesus of Nazareth said that His father created the universe and made you and me inside him so that he could live in us here on earth the life he had planned. These eyewitness accounts were collected as the first four books in the New Testament part of the collection known in Greek as TA BIBLIA – the Bible. The authors themselves are quoted at the end of the first century by men like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp and Papias, while thousands who had seen the man himself and read the original accounts were still alive. The Roman historians Pliny and Tacitus in the second century communicated with their Emperor about this man Christ and what they should do to stop the spread of his teaching. But all the time, the personal chain of witnesses increased the confirmation of the historical facts – men like Irenaeus (born about 97 A.D.) talked about Polycarp (born in 70 A.D.) and said: “I can tell the place in which Polycarp sat and related his conversation with John and others who had seen Jesus.” Similarly, the unbroken chain of personal transmission of historical facts is attested by accounts of men like Papias, who was alive in the first century and wrote: “Mark being the interpreter of Peter wrote exactly whatever he remembered; but not in the order in which things were spoken or done by Christ. For he was neither a hearer nor a follower of the Lord; but, as I said, afterwards followed Peter, who made his discourses for the profit of those that heard him, but not in the way of a regular history of our Lord’s words. Mark however committed no mistake in writing some things, as they occurred to his memory. For this one thing he made his care – to omit nothing which he had heard, and to say nothing false in what he related.” So the existence of this unique human being is part and parcel of the historical records of the Jewish nation, the Roman government, and attested by thousands of manuscripts written in Greek, Latin and Syriac and confirmed by international crowds who heard him and his disciples. The significance of this man’s life and influence has been so universal that our history is measured by the number of years preceding and following his birth – B.C. and A.D.. The Old Testament prophets which he respected and trusted and the New Testament writers who respected and trusted Him have been the basis for the world’s laws and ethics for centuries. And this man has said that he existed before the creation of the universe and that you and I were made inside him and are part of him. But how could this be if he is simply an ordinary human-being like us? If this man was born of an ordinary woman and died the way we die, how can we possibly believe that we were created inside him before we were born here on earth? How can we believe that he is alive now if he was executed by the Romans almost two thousand years ago? Let’s discuss this again.
Day 3: Credibility of History - default
Day 3: Living Daily in Reality: Credibility of History ====================================================== Living daily in reality – not in the world of soap-opera on TV, not in the disasters happening on the other side of the world – but living in actual reality!!! But what is reality i.e. what reality really lies behind this world that we see around us? To know that you’d have to get off this world and look at it from the outside. And this is what a unique human being was able to do! He lived in the first century and was known and acknowledged by thousands of ordinary people who heard and saw him. But – more than that – he was written about and talked about in Greek, Latin, and Syriac books – and in the highest circles of government. Here’s what Tertullian, a Roman juris-consult, wrote in 145 A.D.. – about this man – â€œthere was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate. Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians. Consult your histories!â€(cid:157) says Tertullian. This Jesus was born in Bethlehem in 6 B.C., talked about our Creator as an only son would, demonstrated power to heal sickness and raise the dead, was executed and came back from the dead for over thirty days, and explained that he was returning to his Father, the Creator, with whom he existed outside time and space. But above all of this, he made it plain that he was not just a local figure to be used as an example by religions – he explained that you – and I – were made by his Father, our Creator, inside him so that he could live through us the life he had planned before we were born! This is reality. In fact, he explained what Einstein and modern physics teach us – that time is relative – depending on where you are in the universe. If you could get far enough away out in space and returned fifty years later, you’d be younger than the rest of us on earth. This Jesus explained â€œbefore Abraham was, I amâ€(cid:157) – and he said â€œI am in you and you in meâ€(cid:157); one of his associates wrote that â€œall things were created though him and for him; he is before all things, and in him all things hold togetherâ€(cid:157). A milli-second after our God had his only Son he created humanity – all of us individually inside that Son so that we would share his life. So we now have the opportunity to accept and enjoy our position or to deny and miss our privileged relationship to our Maker! This obviously changes the way we all think of our little lives. So, it is important for us to study the historicity of this man’s life and especially his resurrection! We need to realize that non-religious historians like Tacitus acknowledged the existence and character of this Jesus of Nazareth, that the facts and history of his actions and words are so well-documented that expert British scholars have said there is no question about any of the New Testament except about a thousandth part – and that only concerning punctuation and spelling. It’s important to know that the original accounts were written by men who were actual eye-witnesses who suffered torture and death for what they knew was true. It’s also significant that the transmission of those accounts down through the centuries is established not simply by the twenty ancient manuscripts on which we depend for Plato’s Republic BUT in more than 4,000 Greek manuscripts from as early as 100 to 1100 A.D. None of them differ from one another on matters of fact. Let’s look at some of this evidence again.
Day 4: A Divine Man - default
Day 4L:iving Daily in Reality: A Divine Man? ============================================= If reality is that you and I were made by a fatherly Creator who actually cares about us and made us inside his only son, it’s essential that we know why we believe that is reality. First, it’s necessary to know that such a person as this son actually exists. Many of us have read the Greek and Roman myths that were written by the great poets and philosophers about their gods but we don’t believe for a moment that those myths are reality. When you see movies like “Jesus of Nazareth” or read fiction like “The Davinci Code” you wonder if there is any truth at all believing there was a human being called Jesus of Nazareth. What is the evidence for his existence? As we’ve discussed during the past few conversations, the evidence is similar to but immensely more solid than the evidence we have for the historical figures that form the basis of our laws and philosophy and national histories. Most of our universities, for instance, regard any evidence that is within 200 years of an event as an eye-witness account — even though it is 200 years later than the eye-witnesses actually lived. This is the way we treat the lives of men like Julius Caesar, Plato, Aristotle, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and Nero. This man Jesus lived in the first century and was executed in 29 A.D. Four of his followers wrote their accounts of his words and actions and circulated them throughout Palestine, Greece, and Rome during the next sixty years while hundreds of people were alive who had seen what they had seen. Many like Clement, Papias, Pliny, and Irenaeus referred to these in their own writings and scores of people were executed during those years because they talked about this Jesus of Nazareth, yet his existence and life were never questioned by either the authorities or the ordinary people. In fact, the opposite is true. There are many official government documents and references to the trouble this Christ-talk was causing. Here’s an old Bible of my grandmother’s. She was in the Salvation Army, was born in 1860 and died in 1945. I’ll read you the little presentation page, “Presented to Lieutenant Jane Ann Duff for love and service. 21st of June, 1887.” Now I knew her during the first 11 years of my life, and she could remember what happened in Ireland from about 1870, so if someone during that time had risen from the dead and the whole thing was shown to be a hoax or a kind of Houdini illusion, she would have been able to tell me about it. Moreover, if hundreds of books had been written about the lie, she would certainly have protested. But think about it – she therefore could guarantee the events during her 75 years of conscious life, but I’m still alive 60 years after she died, so events that occurred 135 years ago can be corroborated by hundreds of people who are still alive and had the kind of direct contact that I had with an eye-witness. This Jesus died in 29 A.D. so people who had spoken with eye-witnesses of his death and resurrection would still be alive in 165 A.D. There were thousands who are in this category – who were alive during the period from 29 to 165 A.D. while hundreds of books and letters were being read and circulated about these momentous events. Of course, what makes the historical facts so certain in the minds of historians is that the eye-witnesses themselves and those who believed them gained nothing by their talk. They did not become famous or rich or powerful through their speaking or their writing. In fact, the opposite was true – they died in their hundreds in the mouths of lions, at the hands of gladiators, for the pleasure of Nero and the Roman emperors. They led their children into lion arenas because they knew this Jesus was divine. They had no doubt that he had power to die and to live again. Were they deceived? Let’s talk again about this.
Day 5: Resurrection - default
Day 5: Living Daily in Reality: Resurrection? ============================================= If reality is that we were made inside the only son of our Creator, then the human being that we identify with him must have power over life and death. But only Jesus of Nazareth has credibly demonstrated that ability to die and come back to life. Many fakirs, spiritualists, and con men have claimed to do this, but none has the kind of public and documented testimony that surrounds this phenomenal event which split our history into B.C. and A.D.. Mohammed was a prophet, Buddha was an inspired teacher and example, but Christ was the only son of the Maker of the universe and was the being inside whom you and I were created. But WAS he the one human being who had power to overcome the power of death? All the contemporary witnesses of his life attest to the facts that he had power to die, to leave the earth, and to return and live here for several weeks. The two vital facts are the empty tomb and the various appearances. The usual imaginative alternatives have never stood the test of simple logic. If the disciples had stolen the body, why would they then have died for a lie and allowed their wives and children and friends to be persecuted and executed for what they knew to be untrue? People will die for what they think is true, but they will not die for what they know to be a lie. If the Romans or the Jewish leaders had stolen the body, why didn’t they parade it through the streets in order to quell this troublesome Christian insurgency that was destroying their society and their religion ? If Jesus had simply swooned and been unconscious, how could he revive enough to roll back the heavy stone from the grave – and – more than that – how could he, with open wounds in his side and his hands call up enough energy and strength to appear in thirteen different places miles apart over a period of more than a month and give an appearance of being more alive than ever before? It’s the same kind of logical impossibility in the argument about the resurrection appearances. He was just a ghost, but he not only walked through walls, but he ate fish and told sceptical Thomas to actually put his fingers into the holes in his hands and said, “a ghost does not have flesh and blood as you see I have.” Perhaps the women AND the men had hallucinations. But hallucinations have well-known psychological attributes – they occur in people who have a somewhat emotional and tentative character – the big, practical fishermen don’t fit that characterization. Hallucinations occur normally among people who want and expect something to happen – the disciples had given up any thought of Jesus rising from the dead and expressed their disappointment. Hallucinations usually occur over a long period of time at lengthy invervals; Jesus’ thirteen appearances occurred over a relatively short compact period of about a month and then ceased completely. Hallucinations are usually seen by one person on their own, but Jesus appeared to groups of people – on one occasion 500 people at one time. The truth is that the explanations for the resurrection are more difficult to believe than the unprecedented fact itself. Because of this demonstrated power over death and because of his ethically faultless life and profound grasp of truth, this man was recognized by the leaders of the world as the divine son of God, and in 325 A.D. belief in him became the established religion of the Roman Empire and our very dates and time came to be measured as before and after his birth.
Day 6: Reality in the Creator’s Son - default
Day 5: Living Daily in Reality: Reality is in the Creator’s Son ============================================================== Living daily in reality – that’s what we’re talking about for five minutes each day. Naturally the first question that we’ve been dealing with is ‘what is reality?’ And we’ve answered so far that the only human being that seems to have existed outside this earth – and been conscious of his existence – and therefore of any reality behind what we all see and touch here – is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ. We’ve discussed the fact that he undoubtedly existed in the first century and we’ve looked at some of the ancient manuscripts that contain the accounts written and spoken by eye-witnesses. These old documents are older and more numerous than those we have for any of the other well-known classical histories of those days. When, for instance, we think of Plato’s Republic (the basic text for most university philosophy departments), we accept the text on the basis of one manuscript which was written 1200 years after Plato wrote his masterpiece, yet we do not question that we have what Plato wrote. Similarly with Herodotus, Aristotle, and Lucretius whose works are based on 2 to 8 manuscripts all of which were written about 1300 years after the author died. The eye-witness accounts of this man Jesus, on the other hand, are found in more than 4,000 Greek manuscripts some of which were written as early as 125 a.d. – while contemporaries were still alive. So we have no doubt that we are reading what actually happened: there just wasn’t the time gap for a legend to develop. But why do we think he was the only son of the Creator of the universe and that you and I were made inside him? Why would you think he was the only son of God? Because he talked like God’s son! Even though his earthly father was an ordinary carpenter, he said to his parents once when he was just twelve and they found him in the temple, “Did you not know I would be about my father’s business?” His mother, of course, knew her husband had no business in the temple. In a very natural way, he identified himself with God, saying things like, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 14:7) and “He who has seen me has seen the Father also.”(John 14:9) Indeed, where prophets like Mohamed avoided claiming a unique kinship with God, this man made it the focal point of his followers with the question, “Who do men say that I am…who do you say that I am?”(Matthew 16:15) Well, probably all of us can think of people who make all kinds of wild claims as long as they will benefit from them; but this man was pointed and blunt about it even when he was on trial for his life about this very question of his identity. He was being tried for his life and the presiding official asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” He replied, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”(Mark 14:62) When I read that as a sceptic, I thought, “That explains it right there – the man was a lunatic. The psyche wards are full of crazy people claiming to be anything from Napoleon to God’s Son – that’s what he was – just another mad demagogue!” But this man Jesus didn’t act like a lunatic! The insane people in psyche wards not only make insane claims for themselves, but they act insanely – they produce other symptoms of their mental imbalance. But this man Jesus does not behave as a deranged person; his character does not have the abnormalities or extremes of a madman. Indeed, the opposite is true. When anyone in the world – whatever their religious or non-religious background – wishes to set forth an example of a perfectly balanced and integrated personality, Jesus of Nazareth is the one who is presented as the model to follow. “His zeal never degenerated into passion, nor his constancy into obstinacy, nor his benevolence into weakness, nor his tenderness into sentimentality. His unworldliness was free from indifference and unsociability or undue familiarity; his self-denial from moroseness; his temperance from austerity.” Such are the opinions of most of the behavioral experts of our time. If this man was a lunatic, then all of us are hopelessly insane. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, “No one has yet explained how such deep, moral teaching could come from the lips of a megalomaniac!” But perhaps Jesus was simply a con man, a simple liar! Maybe he knew he wasn’t God but deliberately deceived his hearers about his true identity in order to lend authority to his preaching. But he is universally regarded as the teacher of the highest ethical ideals the world has ever seen; moreover, his life is looked upon as the outstanding example of a perfect, faultless example of his teaching. If he is a liar, then the whole world of logic crumbles in our hands, and our ability to make even the simplest observations with our five senses becomes questionable. It is nonsense to say that the greatest moral teacher and example the world has ever seen — lied — about the focal point of all his teaching — his own identity! If Jesus was a liar, then the world is a “tale told by an idiot.” Or is reality that he is the only son of our Maker and that you and I were created inside him?
Day 7: Made Inside Christ - default
Day 7:Living Daily in Reality: Made Inside His Son =================================================== We’re talking about living daily in reality and we’ve spent the past six videos sharing why we think the man known as Jesus of Nazareth is best able to tell us what reality is. This doesn’t mean that we have to be critical or disrespectful of other great prophets like Mohammed and Buddha: it simply means that history seems to show that this man is the one that died, had the ability to come back to life, and spoke about the Creator as his own personal father. If you question the historicity or superhuman nature of this Jesus Christ, please do look at the first six videos which deal specifically with this intellectual undergirding of what we’re about to talk about now. The first startling fact we have to face is that this Jesus said that he existed with the Creator before the universe was created. The Jews then said to him,”You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham ?” His reply is “before Abraham was, I am”. He makes his pre-existence explicit when he says “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad”. In this same conversation he says, “it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him: I know him.” This natural, unaffected consciousness of his prior existence is expressed again in his prayer “now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”. All of these statements were put in writing within 10 years of a manuscript dated about 110 A.D. while some people were still alive who had actually seen this man called Jesus. Believing that this human being knew life before he ever came to the earth would seem utterly impossible if his ability to come back to life after crucifixion were not so widely and analytically documented. But, given the sane and prudent influence that his followers and eye-witnesses have exercised in our world, this person’s pre-existence with our Creator seems a more credible explanation for his wisdom than anything else. It is in keeping with his power over death and disease that his apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the people in Colossae “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” And it is these facts that make his own words believable when he says: “Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you”. What then is reality? Reality is that you are actually part of the only son of our Creator! Far from being the chance accident of a blind evolutionary process, you are a carefully and uniquely designed development of God’s only Son. Evolved? Probably, but by a process consciously and lovingly designed and cared for by a loving father’s concern for his only son. Reality was stated simply by this man Jesus’ scholarly apostle when he wrote to the people at Ephesus about 60 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”. Why would our creator make us inside his only Son? Let’s talk again about this.
Day 8: Why Did God Make Us in His Son? - default
Day 8: Living Daily in Reality: Why make us in His Son? ======================================================= We’re talking about the one human being in the world who had the power to die and come back to life for more than a month in the first century of our present era. He is also the man that has been regarded as the wisest and most ethical human being by both religious and non-religious philosophers. He behaved and spoke as one would expect the son of the creator to behave, and he said that you and I were made inside him before the world was created. Why would our maker make us inside his only son? This man’s resurrection, you remember, is so reliably reported in history and fully documented in thousands of manuscripts that our very history is divided into B.C. and A.D.. He explained his final departure from the earth by saying “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be also”. It’s plain from his other statements that the creator is a loving person who made us because he wanted other children like his only son. He obviously made us in his son so that we would share his life and nature and be as dear to him personally. But Jesus made it clear that his father did not want little toy automatons but free-will people who could actually be friends that he could love. This meant we could choose non-existence if we wanted, so he would have to sustain us and bear the consequences while we chose. He did this by making us inside his own son. So our present world is the temporary effect of our current decision to live in independent nothingness! It also explains why so many of us have within us good and kindly impulses along with selfish and cruel attitudes. The goodness comes from this life of Christ within us while the hostile attitudes express our choice of non-existence. But all of this is sustained by the only human life that has been called “the first-born of all creation” – Jesus, the only son of our maker. He carries us within himself along with every consequence of our sin or independent living. As the most responsible being in the whole universe he has committed himself to enduring whatever we do with our free wills. Although there is no ‘before’ and ‘after’ in eternity, let’s for a moment talk in simple terms. A millisecond after God had his only Son he made you and me inside his Son so that he could come to earth in the human race. This is the meaning of those words we quoted before from the book called ‘Ephesians’ – “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. In his son our creator works to complete his universe through us — and bears all the negative consequences of our rejection of his life in us. Thus this present world is a temporary picture of what life was not meant to beLiving Daily in Reality the creator himself bears the fatal consequences of all our autonomous actions so that we may be kept alive for a further opportunity to accept his life within us. God is no distant, impassive scientific experimenter observing us through a microscope — he has put himself at risk and bears all the strains internally of his will and nature being assaulted by children whom he loves as his only son. This is the cost of making free-will beings and giving them every chance to make the choice between life and nothingness.
Day 9: Does the Maker of World Know Everything? - default
Day 9: Living Daily in Reality: Does our Maker Know Everything? =============================================================== We’re talking about living each day in reality rather than the dream-world of the media or the transitory world of each day’s activities. Obviously this forces us to face the question ‘what is reality’. We’ve answered on the basis of the only human life that seems to have been directly related to the Maker of the world. We’ve been saying that this (the actions and words of Jesus of Nazareth whose historicity we’ve discussed in the first six videos) indicates that there is no life outside him and his father. This is part of the reason we were created actually inside him — so that we would share his existence and could continue to exist even after initially choosing to reject his life. In this way our creator made us with the same free will as he has, allowed us to reject his life, see the consequences of our choice in this world, and then choose finally life or nothingness. Most parents know what an agony they’ve often had to bear to give their children this privilege of free will; this is obviously multiplied and intensified billions of times when one thinks of a good, loving father bearing within himself the tortures of world-wars and domestic strife. Did the maker of the universe know this would happen? Even we humans with our finite minds are capable of foreseeing and foreknowing what certain children and adults will probably do. But an infinite mind that originates everything certainly knows what we humans will do: his love is not in his ignorance but in his willingness to bear the consequences in his own heart so that we will see plainly the effects of our choices. Indeed, he foreknew because he foreordained, and he foreordained because his love has to bear and transform its opposite. So our maker has to conceive not only what he is but also what he is not – and he has to endure that. This endurance or patience is intensified by the reality of the eternity that Einstein clarified in scientific terms when he posited the relativity of time. Through illustrations with one clock at sea-level and the other at the top of a mountain, he pointed out not only that time is relative to space but that eternity includes and transcends time. So God himself foresaw the long, agonizing history of the universe in a millisecond, saw his son come to earth in his own physical body, then in our billions of personal bodies, and bore the pain of it all instantaneously. In so far as he shares all our moments in his son, he bears the pain continuously in time until it ends “for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Although his love requires that he never force our wills yet it also requires that he work with our waywardness to enable us to make a true choice between life and death, his son within us and our empty selves. If you imagine yourself as the absolute and ultimate maker and sustainer of the universe, you know that your ensuring free will in your creatures must stem from your own inner integrity and respect for free will. It cannot come from your handing them over to some abstract force called chance: otherwise that force would be the ultimate ruler. Thus you have to know all that will happen in the universe that you have made!
Day 10: The Basis of Our Life - default
Day 10: Living Daily in Reality: The Basis of our Life ====================================================== We’re talking about living each day in reality and in the first six days of these five-minute presentations we talked about the human being called Jesus and the intellectual evidence for regarding him as a historical person. We then dealt with some of the reasons for believing that he really is the only son of the creator of the universe; and on the basis of that we leaped into his own explanation of reality – that his father, the creator of the universe, had made you and me inside him. This is why an eye-witness of his life wrote â€œhe is the first-born of all creation and in him all things were created and in him all things hold togetherâ€(cid:157). Obviously each of us first appeared on earth when we were born in our mother but he himself said â€œbefore Abraham was, I amâ€(cid:157) and even he appeared in his own body at the beginning of our era. However, the implication of his own words and those of his followers is that â€œwe are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in themâ€(cid:157). In other words, our maker planned for his only son to come to this earth and through his life in us to complete it for his father, the creator. Since our maker’s infinite mind conceives of everything in a moment in eternity, he has already walked through the life he planned to lead in his son through us, so all our works are prepared beforehand for us to walk in. It’s plain to all of us that we have been given freedom to walk in those works or not to walk in them, but in some profound way our creator continues to work in us, through us, and despite us to bring about his original design. The agony of his son’s death in Jerusalem is his plainest expression to us of the strain our autonomy causes him personally and of his readiness to put himself at risk to draw us towards his will. But the most obvious fact that his explanation of reality establishes is that your life and mine have a significance far beyond our own little abilities and talents. We are not what we thought we were – little bits of flotsam and jetsam being buffeted from one place to another by forces of economy and our own little desires and ambitions. We are far more than that – actual beings that are known personally by the Creator of the universe – created in his son even before the world began. Our lives are not only already planned but have been already lived – in the sense that the infinite being who originated everything sees it all in a moment – far better than our most advanced computer will ever work out the future economy of the world. The statement is startling and complex but â€œevery one of our days has been written in his book before there were any of themâ€(cid:157). In other words, our maker has seen not only the plan he has for us but also the choices we will make and the counter-moves that he will also bring about. Our life is a planned adventure – created by a father who loves us! HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING? Â My life flows on in endless song Above earth’s lamentation; I hear the real though distant hymn That hails a new creation No 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 giveth I 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 11: The Release of Living Daily in Reality - default
Day 11: Living Daily in Reality: Some Difficulties ================================================== I try to think of the difficulty you might face as you think about this challenge to live daily in reality. I myself had little trouble with the question of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. In my early university days I spent time in Latin and Greek and Hebrew and the world of manuscripts and documenting of ancient history. It was just very obvious to anyone with even a little knowledge of higher criticism that the manuscript evidence for the historicity of Jesus was far better than that for any of the other famous historical figures of that time. The writings of Julius Caesar and Plato and Homer are accepted by all scholars of repute on the basis of 10 to 20 ancient manuscripts most of which were written a thousand years after they died. The manuscripts for Jesus’ life can be traced to not only thousands of Greek and Latin manuscripts of various ages which confirm the text we have today, but also thousands of Syriac and Egyptian versions together with numberless quotations in non-Biblical literature and letters. But all of this evidence can be found in books by authors like Bruce and Kenyon – even the most liberal critics reinforce the opinion of Westcott and Hort – “the words still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament”. What might be new to you is the wide difference that exists between the other great and respected leaders of the world’s religions and this person, Jesus. He not only rose from the dead and came alive again as a real, human-being who could eat fish and talk with his followers about what happened, but he spoke naturally about his life with his father, the Creator, BEFORE the world was made. In other words he was not bound by time and space like all other human-beings, but seemed equally at home in time-space or outside time-space – and lived that way by passing easily from one world to the other. Again, the historicity of his resurrection is dealt with by many sceptics like the lawyer Morrison or the philosopher, C.E.M. Joad. Moreover, Jesus himself emphasizes his supra-temporal existence by saying plainly “I am in my Father, and you are in me”. His disciple, John, writes “he was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made”. Another of his apostles affirms that “he was the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The implication is that we all were first given life in him: indeed the Greek phrase used by John is literally “all that is was life in him”. Paul also writes to the Ephesians “for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus” while our own poets and intuitions attest to some sense of our being part of eternity. But certainly this is a claim that goes far beyond that of being just a prophet – this is a claim that we are part of him and have been made and sustained by him. This is far different from its human imitation – reincarnation; for there is no indication that we come back in some other form in some future life; the clear indication is that Jesus “goes to prepare a place for us that where he is there we may be also”. The other difficulty I thought you might have is one that I had for years – how can God foreknow what we will do or be? Indeed, how can he foreordain what we will do or be without making us automatons who cannot exercise our free wills? My only answer was that God cannot know what I’m going to do so everything depends on what I will. I thought that he must be like me and that he would undoubtedly work to subvert my will if he saw me heading in the wrong direction. So he must not know and certainly does not foreordain or predestine me since he gives me the right to choose life or death. But then I began to see that God makes everything so he makes us capable of rejecting him and choosing nothingness or death. He can bear that or let it destroy us; if he lets it destroy us, his will is defeated; if he bears the rejection, we may be won by his love. Thus he puts himself at risk and bears the unbearable as God even though he knows each move we will make. Yet his steadfast love continues forever to work all things according to the counsel of his will.
Day 12: A Known Future - default
Day 12: Living Daily in Reality: A Known Future =============================================== Living daily in reality means seeing that we are not just little nothings that occur by chance from some huge explosion in space, but that we are the intricate creation of a personal, loving Father who made us inside his own son. Of course that changes the whole way we think of ourselves and our origin. We see that our physical parents were a gracious way for our Father to get us on the earth but that we are really “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. This transforms our attitude to our futures – if our maker has some things that he has prepared for us to do. This lifts a heavy burden off our shoulders – we are not left to chance encounters with important people or the best opinions of guidance-counselors or the driving fears of our own ambitions. We are here to do something that we were made for – something that only we can do in the way our maker wants. At last we know what to do about that sense of uniqueness that we have: we don’t have to be driven by the need for others to acknowledge our uniqueness by gaining some little celebrity status. We see that it doesn’t matter if the whole world ignores us as long as our maker esteems us as part of himself. But this reality of our being part of the son of the Creator of the universe also affects our attitude to the future. You can see that if you look again at that statement by Paul (to whom Jesus appeared in Palestine) – “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Even we with our finite minds can see that our maker obviously knows everything there is to be known about his creation. It is the job of human manufacturers to know the potentials and limitations of their product. How much more does the infinite being who made everything know what will happen when millions of beings through thousands of years interact with each other and their environment! Indeed, when you think how many circumstances and contingent events must occur repeatedly for you to get up each morning and get to work, the being or power that enables all these to occur on time must know everything in detail. So, obviously the creator knows all that will happen and all the things we will do in our lifetime. The great difference between the exercise of this power and that of a software programmer is that our father is committed to guarding and preserving our exercising free will. He put us here to give us that opportunity – to come willingly to accept his plan for us – however long it takes and however much he has to bear as we choose our own ways. But the immeasurable benefit for us is that our future is a known way – one that has been carefully planned and prepared and provided for by someone who really loves and cares for us!
Day 13: A Planned Life - default
Day 13: Living Daily in Reality: A Planned Life =============================================== If living daily in reality is living in the certainty that we have been made by somebody who actually knows us and loves us, how does that affect the way we think of our futures? The first thought that comes to us is that this creator must know exactly why and for what purpose he made us and put us here. It doesn’t take much intelligence to see the detailed planning and supervision that he must exercise to get you to successfully stand up, walk to the door and open it. Millions of actions in your body, muscles, blood, and brain have to be carefully co-ordinated to enable you to perform that simple act. And when you apply that thought to six billion people throughout the world that avoid colliding with each other and operate millions of personal and financial decisions every hour so that payables and receivables, sales and purchases, imports and exports operate efficiently time after time, it’s easy to see that our creator knows exactly where everything is and will be every moment. So your creator certainly knows what he’s planned for you! The idea that he just makes the whole thing and then rolls it like a dice is something that Einstein utterly rejected as inconsistent with the complicated activities of human and physical nature. Even the growing development of chaos theories by our scientists imply the same belief that nothing happens by chance. Indeed, one could say that if chance ruled, then chance would be the ultimate power in the universe and an intelligent supreme being would be impossible. The alternative to chance is a loving, infinite person who wants us to choose freely to love him so badly that he uses his complete sovereignty with such restraint that we actually are able to choose to acquiesce in his plan for us. And this even if he himself has to bear the strain and pain of our destructive behaviour. This seems to be the situation that is described by Jesus when he expresses his Father’s attitude to Jerusalem in the words “Jerusalem,, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens, but you would not”. It also represents the paradox expressed by one of Jesus’ disciples when he says “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure”. In some profound way, Christ in us acts yet it is we who do the actual deed. So reality is that our lives are planned for us and the power of our creator works in us to fulfil that plan, yet submission to the treatment of his son, Jesus, here on earth makes it clear that he is no dominating dictator or puppeteer. In some paradoxical way he acts and we act also.
Day 14: The Way we Live Now - default
Day 14: Living Daily in Reality: The Way We Live Now ==================================================== Living daily in reality means living lives that have been planned by the infinite father-creator who knows how many times every fly in the world beats its wings each minute. Although his love for us necessitates his making us free to love him or not, each of us has been put here by him to do something that he has planned for us alone. Obviously the state of our personal and international lives shows that we have not made the best choices or the choices that we would expect him to approve. Generally, few of us have seriously accepted that we were made by a creator who cared for us so much that he made us inside his own son so that we could be like him. From we were born we’ve assumed that we were on our own – after a few years of help from our parents. Normally we’ve taken it for granted that it was up to us to decide how we were going to survive. It’s simple to see there are six billion other people like ourselves so it’s up to us to get enough food, shelter, and clothing to maintain life. You quickly see that this means getting as good a job as you can so education will help, but most of all you see that you have to compete with thousands of other human beings who are thinking the same thing as you are. Moreover, even at school you feel inside that others don’t seem to see how absolutely unique you are; that’s why the approval and admiration of your peers becomes so important: Little League is not just fun; sport is not just games; these things can bring you respect and even promotion. But along with these concerns you yearn for that combination of excitement and contentment that gives you a sense of well-being and happiness. So pleasure of all kinds becomes an important part of your life. The result of this view of reality is that most of us find ourselves pretty indifferent to what our maker may or may not want: through teen years and into the twenties we are like little machines that live each day to get enough things to give us some sense of security, enough prestige to get some feeling of significance, and enough pleasures to give us some happiness. And the only source of this security, significance, and happiness is this world around us with its things, its people, and its pleasant circumstances and surroundings. So we grow utterly dependent not on the creator but on the creation. The result is we have no idea why we were put here, and we have little time to think about such things because life has just carried us along so fast that we haven’t noticed the time going. Needless to say, this chaotic, meaningless rat-race is far removed from what your creator has in mind, but wouldn’t he have foreseen some of this? If he made us, wouldn’t he have foreseen all of it? Of course, so let’s talk together again about this.
Day 15: Why Does God Allow Evil? - default
Day 15: Living Daily in Reality: Why does God allow evil? ======================================================== Living daily in reality entails seeing clearly that you personally have a loving father who made you inside his own son so that he could live the life through you that he has planned. What we saw yesterday was that we have had no time for that kind of thinking; we are utterly taken up with getting enough food, clothing, and shelter to gain some sense of security from these things; getting enough respect and recognition from other people to give us some sense of significance; and arranging circumstances and events so that we have a little pleasure and happiness to make life bearable. All of this focuses us – not on some creator somewhere out there – but solidly on this world around us; it is the source we look to for our livelihood. Why does our maker allow this to happen? Because of his own nature – which is love – a real desire to give what he has and is – to others – not because he has to but because he wants to. This means giving the free will that he himself has – so that we are truly free to return that to him; so he gives us the freedom to reject him and his love or to love him in return. This was expressed by his son here on earth when he said “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens, but you would not”. It’s why throughout the years in which the nation of Israel turned away from him to other gods, the prophets said “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end”. Although God has planned that the rarest flower has a bee or moth that is able to pollinate it and that the air pressure of our atmosphere is precisely right for us to exist without exploding or imploding – and although he has carefully planned your life in detail, yet he bears all the independent selfishness and irritability you choose to express. The result is that this world is actually a picture of what life would be like without a creator who is our loving Father. Just as permission to eat of the tree of life and to reject the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given in the Genesis account of creation, so this present world is a clear presentation to us of life or death – it is our opportunity to acquiesce to our creator’s plan for us or to reject it. However, there is no permanent life apart from our Maker’s, so our father faces a devastating situation when He creates us. We can only be what he is if we have his freedom, but if we use it to reject him, then we lose any possibility of retaining life – because there is no life apart from him! This is why he made us in his son.
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 lived like 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 creation No 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 giveth I 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 around us 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 the outside 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 felt A 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 autonomous lives. 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 Â By 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 do with 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 in Jesus 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 Â But 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 to our 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 creation No 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 giveth I 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 31: The Time Machine or ‘Starting Life Again’ - default
Day 31: Living Daily in Reality: The Time Machine ================================================= Living daily in reality means starting again! Doing what many of us have dreamed of – starting life over again. Living daily in reality is doing just that. It means accepting what Einstein stated in his special theory of relativity – that time and space are in fact relative – time does go more slowly the higher you go up. And you would come back to earth younger if you had traveled far out into space. Past writers saw this when they wrote “with God a thousand years are as a day”. In reality our Maker did see the whole life of the human race in a moment – saw all your errors and the corruption we brought upon ourselves, ensured that it all took place inside his only son, then destroyed it in him, and remade us as we were originally, so that today we can start a new life! Living daily in reality means seeing and accepting these facts and living accordingly. This is the meaning of those profound words written by Paul, one of the followers of the son of our Creator – “God, 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 together with Christ, and raised us up and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus that in the coming ages he might show forth the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus”. So living daily in reality means seeing who you are – not the little child of your human mother, but part of the Creator’s own son – here to do and be on earth what he has planned to be in you. This means starting to get to know who your maker is and what he is like and what he wants for this earth. You know some of this already. You can see much of his character in the beautiful things he has made – a baby’s little fingers, a Yorkshire terrier, the magnificent sunsets, people like Sister Teresa. He’s obviously a nice person who understands beauty and generosity. And he has transcendent power to control the vast eternity that contains our little piece of time; together with this he has the power to manifest here in us the human being He created in his son before we mutilated it. The day that lies before you, therefore, has an entirely new perspective – this isn’t just “your” day; it’s twenty-four hours that your maker’s son has in order to do his Father’s will here on earth. So sweep out of your mind all those little nagging thoughts you have about what this person will do or say to you, what ways you can make lunch-time more enjoyable or restful for yourself, what you can look forward to this evening; all these things are no longer your concern, because this isn’t your life – it’s the creator’s life in you. What is real is what he wants to achieve through you today – what he wants to do at work or at school or at home. So, first begin to look at the whole day from his perspective – he is in you and can enable you to feel what he feels and think the way he is thinking. So, our whole life is not one great “how to live like God” technique or “what would Jesus do” imaginary conceiving of success; it’s not a mental game or psychological exercise or “power of positive thinking”. It’s reality – this is how things really are – you ARE part of your Maker’s Son – and He has a life to live in you this day. He actually has already foreseen your whole day and has already changed and adjusted in his cosmic death and resurrection all the things you will meet in these next twelve or sixteen hours. Your job is to be real yourself and, as you are, he will begin to guide you naturally in harmony with his ways and works. Let’s begin to talk practically now about living daily in reality.
Day 32: The Life of Contentment - default
Day 32: Living Daily in Reality: The Life of Contentment ======================================================== Living daily in reality means seeing that this is the world that has already passed. The infinite Maker of the universe has seen his whole creation in a millisecond; his great mind has seen all that you and I and millions of our forebearers and successors would and have done with our free wills. What we have here on earth is a flash-back to the world we would have produced apart from Him. But He has destroyed all that in the timeless, space-less eternity and us with it, so that we now exist with Him – that is reality, and living in that reality is our privilege today. What does this mean? It means letting his son’s spirit live in us the life that he has planned. Doing and being this enables us to experience reality. It transforms, for instance, our life in the office and the home. In both of those places, most of us live to build our own egos and get our own way and receive our due amount of adulation and exaltation. We insist on our family giving us the right respect and flattery, or our office associates giving us due attention and obedience. We are used to looking at everything from our own point of view and take it for granted that we have the right to make things go the way we want them to. We assume that others should be put out or inconvenienced so that our plans and wishes may be followed. Living in reality is utterly different. Our creator behaved in a different way to this when he lived inside his son Jesus of Nazareth. And he is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, so he lives the same way in us. As we allow him to do that, we find ourselves in a new reality. Although he had the right and the power to miraculously call down supernatural powers to deliver him from the crucifixion in Jerusalem, he instead submitted obediently to the agonizing death his Father allowed for him. When he was the real king and deserved all the prominence and submission that both Romans and Jews could give him, he entered Jerusalem on a donkey and refused the exaltation that the people wished to give him. He had the same attitude as his father, our Creator, who had every right to destroy us all for our autonomy and egotism, but instead submitted in his son to whatever insults and hostility and hatred we gave him. This is the strength of our Maker – he submits to whatever cruelty we choose to inflict upon him while he himself returns mercy, gentleness, and love. Within us, he loves even our enemies and blesses those who curse us. The simple reason is that he is the final reality and he will continue to outlast us in all our pride and self-assertion; his life will always outlast our crucifixions. His weakness will always overpower our strength simply because he is the reality – not the nothingness that lies outside him. So it is in our lives here on the earth – the hostility and hatred and anger may seem to triumph momentarily – even to the point of death as in murder and war, but his life of gentleness and submission will alone continue and outlast all else. Often this life of gentle mercy and preferring others before ourselves has been criticized as impractical because it did not produce results. Usually we resist it for this reason – that it’s just not practical – it does not remove evil and establish good. But our time-frame is too short; our perspective is short-sighted; our criteria are too provincial and local. The reason for this kind of life is simply the unanswerable one that this is reality. This is what our Maker is like – this is his character – and this is what lasts and will finally rule throughout the universe. As we allow his life to be lived in us by his son, we find ourselves living daily in reality!
Day 33: Cosmic Resurrection - default
Day 33: Living Daily in Reality: Cosmic Resurrection ==================================================== The only credible explanation of the reality in which we actually live is that given by the human being, Jesus of Nazareth in the first century of our era. This was officially accepted in the Roman Empire in 325 A.D. and has since been the basis of thinking in the Western world. Although its popular presentation in Christendom has twisted it into various self-interested religions, its central tenet is that you and I were made as part of his Son by a loving Father who foresaw everything we would do. Because of the integrity of his own nature he therefore experienced within himself every act and word and thought you have ever had; but he mercifully remade you and the world itself in a cosmic death and resurrection that were both expressed in his Son’s death and resurrection in 29 A.D.. So there are two worlds (parallel universes as the quantum physicists call them) – in which we can choose to live – this visible world and the invisible world of the cosmic resurrection which is permanent. Just as the relativity of time and space implies that our Creator and his worlds exist in one eternal now, so we can choose to live in the permanent reality of the invisible world or the temporary â€œunrealityâ€(cid:157) of this visible world around us. We can rejoice or fret. Why did our Creator do all this?Â Â Out of love – love for his son and a desire that you and I would enjoy that too by our own free choice.Â Â This is why he has gone to all this trouble and endured such agony – so that we could choose to reject him if we preferred nothingness or acquiesce in his loving plans for our happiness.Â Â Thus he gives us this present experience of a world apart from him and his ways; an opportunity to know what he is like in contrast to what nothingness is like.Â Â This is why we see two threads running through the life of the world – one that is full of evidences of his kindliness and the invisible renewed world in the exquisite delicacy of a flower surviving in a rubbish dump or an act of kindness in the cruelty of war.Â Â The other thread, of course, is evident in the harshness of our society and the rampant dishonesty that governs so much of our national and international life.Â Â Â As we recoil and reject the self-assertion and hatred that our maker experienced in his own temporal son as Jesus of Nazareth and that his own eternal son experienced when we were first created in him before the world was made, we make our own choice.Â Â His love thus enables us to see what a Godless life is like here and what a Godly life is like in Him.Â Â His son’s death and resurrection in Palestine in 29 A.D. expresses the cosmic death and resurrection that occurred in Him in the split-second of eternity when He faced in his own heart the nothingness that is the only alternative to Him.Â Â Only that cosmic death and resurrection could justify for Him his forbearance to us when we rejected his will.Â Â Only if he faced in himself through his son the utter nothingness of life outside himself, could our Maker forgive and remake us and the world according to his will. So even now there exists a new world which is the result of a cosmic resurrection that has taken place in the eternal present of the Bible and quantum physics.Â Â And it is possible to experience some of its power and vitality here in time.
Day 34: Two Worlds - default
Day 34: Living Daily in Reality: Two Worlds =========================================== Living daily in reality is living in things as they are; and things – or our present circumstances – are what our maker has allowed us to make of his world. We like to think that some benevolent god will correct any mistakes we make so that we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our actions; but reality is not like that. Our maker wants friends – sons and daughters like his only Son who lived here in the first century in Palestine – children who are free to love him or themselves. So he has arranged things so that we live in the mess we have made – when we cut another person with our words or our swords, we live in the resulting alienation and stress. As we bring up children in self-love we face the chaos of an irresponsible generation. But the paradox of our deteriorating world is that our maker foresaw all this and therefore created it in the first place inside his own son so that He himself could bear and reverse its consequences outside this limited time-space universe. He manifests this reality in glimpses of his beauty and glory that we see in a Sister Teresa or a little flower pushing up through slabs of concrete or the little Jewish girl saying to the German guard in the gas-chamber “leave him alone, my precious brother will die with me”. All of these are evidences of the real world that already exists in dependence on its maker – while we exist in the world that we have made by our dependence on ourselves. But why? So that we can see the difference – the great difference between living as if we have no maker and living in the reality that we have a maker who loves us and wants us to live in his love. This is why his son said these words to his companions in Palestine – “I have called you friends because a servant does not know what his master is doing”. At this very moment we are actually in God, i.e. in his Son, Christ, but we have been given this temporary exterior creatureliness so that we can see what life without or outside God is like. The result is this perverted world that we have mutilated by living as if we’re not in God but in a separated creature-hood. Our Maker foresaw all this and knew that we hadn’t the ability to reverse the perversion of ourselves and our world, so in the timeless, instantaneous moment of reality in which He exists He destroyed this mess and remade us and it in Himself. This is the final reality that exists now alongside, above, and around this present world. It’s the cosmic change that is expressed in this time-space world by Jesus’ death in the first century – “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” – remaking and renovating it to what it was originally planned to be. That is the new world that exists in eternity and can manifest its reality here in our present sphere. So – our free will is given another chance to live and experience the power of God’s uncreated life rather than the temporary created life of our independent selves and autonomous world. At times we are able to glimpse this miracle from outer space when another human-being unexpectedly recovers from a disease that should have killed them or a difficult financial or social situation suddenly turns right around and seems to solve itself. But often we see it after we have changed our attitude so we attribute our success to positive thinking rather than to a parallel universe.
Day 35: Why this World is like it is? - default
Day 35: Living Daily in Reality: Why This World is Like it Is ============================================================= How could there be a good God when you see all the suffering, injustice, and disasters in our world? Such a God would not allow such things to happen! This is the well-known argument for agnosticism or atheism – known to all of us as the “problem of suffering”. But what if God gave us a good world and free will? What if we used our free will to pervert this world and abuse it and turn it into the godless mess it is today? We tend to answer – “if he really cared about us, he would have stopped us”. But what if he cared about us so much that he didn’t want to turn us into a bunch of robots that could be controlled by “sticks and carrots” – by rewards and punishments? What if he didn’t want a universe of “knee-jerk, Pavlov dogs” that acted in response to external stimuli or punishments and rewards? What if he wanted real persons to whom he could relate and who could enjoy his company? He’d have to find some way in which we could get to know him and yet see what the alternative life away from him was like. This is part of the reason why our world is such a mixture of good and evil. We were made in God’s son who was then entrusted with developing this world through us – and of bearing the nothingness that resulted whenever we rejected his father’s will. This enables our Father to bear all the fatal consequences of our selfish assertiveness yet rectify in his son our own lives and the world until we eventually acquiesce in his vision for us. This perversion and rectification – this death and resurrection continue sequentially in our local solar system but concomitantly in the eternal now beyond time and space. Our creator works with our free wills for the expression of these opposing forces so that we can come to understand and love him. This difficult concept of knowing the future yet suffering the present has become easier to understand as Einstein helped us to realize we are often looking at stars that no longer exist. As we have begun to glimpse the possibility that time goes more slowly in our space than in outer space, so we see how “a thousand years with God can pass as a day” and that it’s possible for him to see tomorrow while we can see only today. If his infinite mind can see what we are today and what we have become in a million years then all our intermediate states must also exist. Our present lives cease to be an independent striving to overcome and become instead a willing acquiescence as we see our Maker’s will for us. So one can understand the directive to “work out your own salvation for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”. The reality seems to be that there are two versions of you in existence: there is the present one with all the varied effects and results of a life that operates as if God is someone you call on rarely – and the other one that has been completely remade and in which God’s son does his will through you day by day. It all seems so mystical and unscientific until you start to read quantum physics. Then you begin to realize that today’s physicists talk about reality in some of the same terms. They indicate that their study of the tiniest particles that make up our world seem to behave in unusual ways. When Einstein was concluding his general theory of relativity – in which he presented the fact that time varied according to its location in space – it seemed to him that certain quanta or sub-atomic particles appear to be influenced by each other even though they are separated by great distances. As today’s physicists tried to explain this odd “spookiness at a distance” as Einstein called it, they were drawn to the idea that there were parallel worlds in our universe. Though nothing is proved here by either science or faith about each other, yet the idea of two instantaneous versions of events seems no longer just the possible implication of an omniscient mind. Extra Note… This world is the tree we chose – it gives us a knowledge of both good and evil so that we see what a world without God is like.
Day 36: Quantum Physics and Parallel Universes - default
Day 34: Living Daily in Reality: Quantum Physics and Parallel Universes’s ======================================================================== One of the most difficult things to understand is theodicy. How can we have free wills yet live lives foreknown or foreordained by our Creator? The Maker of the universe must know the potentials of what he has made and therefore must know in detail what will happen to every bird, proton, and human being. This presents a problem if he wants any of his creatures to have the freedom to reject his will: how can he make a creature like man who could choose nothingness rather than him? How can he reconcile with his own love the creation of a person who will choose the nothingness of non-existence? In other words, how can the Creator make a free-will agent who can choose to love him or decide to hate him – if loving is wanting the best for another? For more than fifty years now, quantum physicists have been studying the behavior of the tiniest particles that make up our universe. They have produced and rejected countless theories of how these sub-atomic particles like neutrons and quarks operate. One of the most incomprehensible actions they have observed is the seeming influence of one electron’s spin on the action of another electron ten billion light-years away: yet they know about each other in a split-second! Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance” and rejected its possibility in this universe. Since then physicists like Bell have shown it to be true, and for years scientists have tried to reconcile this fact with relativity. Gradually physicists have come to respect the theory of an American physicist called Everett who has posited the theory that there are parallel universes – many of them – as many as the choices you make moment-by-moment in your life. So, faith does not seem so incompatible with reason when it states that God has made an old Adam and a new Adam: the old rejects Him and embraces autonomous nothingness and the new Adam embraces Him as our loving Father upon whom we depend. As we acquiesce in one or the other so goes our life here and beyond! So our omniscient Maker knows everything that will happen and governs it all by his honest love for each one of us. Gradually the world of science and the world of faith seem increasingly to merge. Just as physicists are driven to the idea of parallel worlds to explain the simultaneous influence of electrons on one another separated by millions of light-years, so theologians are driven to the idea of two worlds to explain the simultaneous action of the Creator’s will and man’s will. As David wrote in Psalm 139, “even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether; in thy book were written the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”. Only the Maker’s protective attitude towards our free wills prevents his omnipotence from forcing upon us “the building we have from God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. But we are here in the space-time of earth to choose whether we’ll live in that or in a personality cobbled together by our own independence. So here in the sequential temporal world we see life without God in all the horror of its increasing violence, brutal indifference, and destructive greed on one side; and on the other, shafts of sunlight from the simultaneous eternal world that makes life bearable with unselfishness, kindly acts, and encouraging words. So every day we are faced with the freedom to choose whether our own knowledge of good and evil will govern our lives or whether the Christ-life from our Maker will course through us. Finally there is only one reality and one Creator, but he is a loving Father who sees all of time in one millisecond – yet endures patiently the distortion of his world until we acquiesce in what he has planned for each of us.
Day 37: Do Genesis and Science agree about Time? - default
Day 37: Living Daily in Reality: Do Genesis and Science Agree About Time? ========================================================================= How can God control the universe without turning us into robots? Physicists like Everett opened the way to a possible answer when they suggested that there may be concomitant universes that exist alongside each other. This is one of the hypotheses presented to explain strange behavior of the tiny particles that make up our universe. They seem to influence and be influenced by each other even though separated by thousands of light-years. Just as Einstein showed that time goes faster or slower relative to space, so it is possible that an intelligent creator could create and reconcile various concomitant developments for your life depending on the choices you make. In that way he could “work all things according to the counsel of his will” without making you choose one way or the other. This possibility of eternity existing alongside time becomes more probable as we see the convergence of physics with the Biblical account of creation. Schroeder, a scientist and theologian, points out the striking agreement between contemporary cosmologists and the Bible on the age of the universe. Science generally bases the 16 billion year figure on the existence of cosmic background radiation (CBR) – this is the radiation that has filled the universe in all directions from the time of the big bang beginning. It acts like the clock of the universe because its temperature or frequency used to be millions and millions of times greater than the frigid -2.73K of space today. In our most advanced physics laboratories the temperature of space at the time of the big bang has been measured at about a million million times hotter than today. The stretching of the light waves has slowed the frequency of this cosmic clock so that perceived time is a million million times greater now than then. This slowing of the cosmic clock is taken together with the gradual slowing expansion of the universe and applied mathematically to the difference between a starting temperature of (10.9 x 10 to the 12th degrees K) and the current space temperature of (-2.73 degrees K). Thus the six days of Genesis cover a gradually diminishing period of time and space, so that one is startled at how closely each day corresponds to the times and the developments observed by many scientists. While the Bible explains the why of creation and does not claim to explain the how, it’s important to see how in thirty-one verses it outlines the events of sixteen billion years in a way that is not incompatible with science. Thus day one, from 15.75 billion years ago to 7.75 billion years ago saw the creation of the universe with light separating from darkness (Genesis 1-:1-5) or the big bang and light breaking free as electrons bond to atomic nuclei and galaxies form. Then day two, from 7.75 billion years ago to 3.75 billion saw the heavenly firmament formed (Genesis 1:6-8) and the disk of the Milky Way and the Sun. Then day three, from 3.75 billion years ago to 1.75 billion saw oceans and dry land – the first life, plants (Genesis 1:9-13) when the earth cooled and liquid water appeared with the first forms of life – bacteria and photosynthetic algae. Day four, from 1.75 billion years ago to .75 billion saw the sun, moon, and stars become visible (Gen 1:14-19) and earth’s atmosphere became transparent and photosynthesis produced our oxygen-rich atmosphere. Then day five from .75 billion years ago to .25 billion produces the first animal life in the water, with reptiles and winged animals (Gen 1:20-23) – the first multicellular animals, winged insects, and animal life with the basic body plans for all future animals. Finally, day six from .25 billion years ago to 6,000 years ago, land animal, mammals, and humans (Gen 1:24-31) when a massive extinction destroys over 90% of life and the land is repopulated by hominids and then human beings. Both the Bible and science point thus to an infinity or eternity that contains time and to a universe where time and space affect and are affected by each other in ways that dwarf our local ideas of sequence and cause and effect. Clearly it’s a universe where its originator must be able to see it “all at once”, and would say things like his son was “before all things” and was also the “first-born of all creation”.
Day 38: Living in the Real Universe - default
Day 38: Living Daily in Reality: Living in the Real Universe ============================================================ Living daily in reality means living in the real universe – and today’s quantum physicists are saying that this universe is larger and more complex than we ever thought. Certainly as future space-travelers we are learning that time goes more slowly the farther out in space we go. And it is occurring to us that you should be able then to go out so far in space that time stops! As we think about the one that made the whole universe it seems obvious that he or she must be able to see all of history in a moment – indeed, everything must be a present moment to the creator of it all. This is the infinite or eternal view that Christ presented in his life on earth in the first century: he declared to Jews who questioned him, “‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: it is my father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” Living daily in reality means living in this twenty-first century world where we are seeing that time and space have never been as fixed and absolute as we thought. Not only is space curved according to Einstein, but time depends on where you are in space – both are relative to our positions. This makes it easier for us to understand reality through the mind of our Maker who said, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.” He is the one to whom David says, “Even before a word in on my tongue, O Lord, you know it altogether.” We see that, of course, God must know everything that will happen in the universe he has made. What we have been saying is that he not only knows what our lives will be like and gives us freedom to do what we want, but he simultaneously creates another way which we can either activate here on earth or reject – in which case he creates another way, which – again – we can activate or reject – until our time on earth is over! As the quantum physicists are suspecting, there is more than one reality at work. And as we are beginning to see – there is a loving, intelligent person who “is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” while at the same time we are seeing around us daily the consequences of life apart from our Maker. Living daily in reality means allowing, acquiescing, co-operating with the Maker of the universe, your loving Father, as he works to do through you the things he wants done in this planet. At the same time, he is endeavoring to draw your mind closer to his so that you will understand him better as you see the works that he is able to do daily in this world even as it draws to an end. So our daily life is filled with personal hope and the daily excitement of what God is going to do through us each day, yet it is clear-eyed about the unreality around us of a world that cannot make it apart from its Maker. Let’s begin now to apply this together to our daily lives, watching always for the directions that you personally will receive for the very individual journey that is yours alone.
Day 39: The Twin Dynamics of Living in Reality - default
Day 39: Living Daily in Reality: The Twin Dynamics of Living in Reality ======================================================================= We’ve been saying that you personally have a loving father who made you part of his only son so that he could express in your life something of himself and could add something to his creation through you. He also wants you to accept his adoption of you as his child now that you are able to see what life without him is like – that’s the other reason you’re here on this wayward planet. But he has foreseen what your reaction would be – so he has in his love remade you and your life and all your circumstances in eternity – in a kind of parallel universe such as the quantum physicists hypothesize. Living daily in reality is living by faith that the spirit of the creator’s son is working with the acquiescence of your human will – inside you – to reconcile your attitude to his – and outside you – to reconcile your circumstances to his will. These are the twin realities of living in reality. Our maker has foreknown all the attitudes that you would have and all the circumstances that you would face – he has borne them all in his only son, neutralized their fatal effects, and recreated them in timeless space so that they can be actualized here. So faith is simply acceptance of that reality. Thus the 2009 worldwide recession resulted from banks and home-buyers acting as if they had more money than they actually possessed. They were assisted and encouraged to do this by a culture of greed and deception that gripped society in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Desire for the security of things and the significance of conspicuous consumption usurped confidence in a loving Father who knows everyone he has made. Our Maker was not caught off balance, nor are we able without him to rectify the internal and external mess, but he has! And his son, whom we know in his historical existence as Jesus Christ, is working inside and outside you to manifest this resolution. So our Maker sees each one of us as we stretch our finances a little more to buy on credit a bigger house or a better car. He provides warning signs along the way as we miss a payment or have an unexpected expense, but we put our trust in the national prosperity and the plentiful loans available. The bankers and the realtors and the stockbrokers all do the same. Meanwhile the international bankers are packaging our loans together with other under-financed loans and using them as partial collateral for even larger commitments, until the whole world pretends it has hundreds of times more money than it actually has. So mankind deceives itself until it is completely dependent on the imaginary financial assets that do not actually exist. Only the slender thread of true assets continues to be glimpsed by some few financial consciences sensitized by the mysterious grace of our Maker’s mercy. Gradually that mercy begins to manifest the stresses and incongruities that are built into the world-system of currencies and deficits, of real estate appreciation and actual housing needs, of commercial expansion of retail malls and actual growth of demand. The Maker allows us to move to the edge of the precipice of unreality and lies so that we see the abyss open before us while his Son’s spirit cries out faintly through a few consciences and clear minds that point to a way back. The urge we have to establish and maintain our autonomy is persistent so that we want to be healed “lightly”; this means we want to be rescued but hope to maintain our trust in ourselves rather than in the faithfulness and authority of some creator-God. Thus there is always this resistant manipulatory streak that carnal nature cannot get rid of by its own power – it seems as if it has been perverted into an alien form which cannot do what it was originally designed to do – live by the power and life of its creator. In the recession of 2009 this will express itself in strong tendencies to paper over dishonesties and apply short-cut cover-ups rather than analyzing carefully the actual errors and lies. Often the complexities of lies and pretense are so layered that many of us will either succumb to suicide or emerge from the recession unwilling to face life without lies and dishonesty. But our creator allows this kind of disaster to hold the world back from absolute chaos so that each one of us can enter the reality of life with our Maker’s attitude and friendship – let’s talk about that next time.
Day 40: Your Choice: Reality or Unreality? - default
Day 40: Living Daily in Reality: Your Choice — Reality or Unreality? ===================================================================== We’ve been saying that the worldwide recession of 2009 was permitted by the maker of the world so that we could see what life without him would be like and could see that he alone can remake this broken world and us with it. Many of us regard this as either a fairy story or the kind of dependence that we aren’t willing to accept. Despite the historical evidence of the so-called son of God’s life in the first century of our era and the extreme frustration we face in trying to find a substitute security for our Maker’s love, many of us ignore these facts and continue our independent struggle against the professional, financial, and domestic strains brought on by recession. The reality of the situation is completely different! There’s no way we can make our cash-flows work on our own! Most of us live the lie that they work because of our subtle control of financing, credit controls, collection techniques and accounting systems. But the whole house of cards depends on a complex ballet that is danced by customers’ financial health and business contingencies which depend on millions of actions and events that take place far away from our control or knowledge. Yet we continue to trust the lie that all these things take place with machine-like regularity and certainty – and that we can somehow project or depend on the millions of fallible wills and error-prone processes that run our world. In fact, the opposite is true. The whole system hangs together because “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. The real flaw in the operation is us. We have been made part of our creator’s son so that he could complete this planet through us, but this means that sharing his love and trust in his Father – we can and do choose to reject that and turn our self-consciousness into self-centeredness. This self-centeredness spoils our own lives and causes most of the malfunctions in our world. The creator foresaw all this, permitted us the free will his son had – to bring us to our senses – and remade us and the broken world outside time. Our basic problem is egocentricity. We have been given real existence in our maker’s son, but we have misused that self-consciousness to look at everything from our point of view rather than his. We therefore see the whole world as a great hinterland of things, people, and events that exist for our use and benefit. With six billion of us doing that – the result is chaos and frustration – and actual perversion of our personalities. In eternity, the one present mille-second of reality where our creator sees everything, he has borne in himself and his son all our pretense of self-existence and remade us, so that we are able to live in eternal reality here in time. This is our choice – reality or unreality – the reality of being part of our creator’s son or the unreality of pretending we’re self-existent creatures. The one brings upon us tremendous, unrealizable demands; the other brings us a life-energy of liberty and joy. Many quantum physicists posit the hypothesis of parallel universes as an explanation of particles apparently connected to each other over huge distances; whether or not the theory of parallel universes is proven scientifically, the Son of our Maker demonstrated in his life and death that there exist at least two versions of your life. There is one that you have chosen until now – and there is another contemporaneous one that God has remade in himself – and he can live that one in you today. This is the experience of life from another world expressed in the old spiritual, “How can I keep from singing?” My life goes on in endless song: Above earth’s lamentation, I hear the real, though far-off hymn That hails a new creation. Above the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul – How can I keep from singing? What though the tempest round me rolls I hear the truth – it liveth; What though the darkness round me rolls? Songs in the night are given. No storm can shake my inmost calm, While to that rock I’m clinging; Since the Lord is Lord of heaven and earth, How can I keep from singing? Let us live in this reality!
Day 41: Your Maker or You? - default
Day 41: Living Daily in Reality: Your Maker or You? =================================================== We’re talking about living each day in reality rather than in the temporary world of topical events – or the media. But what is reality? The only human being who has died, been buried for days, come back to life and then left the planet so that his body has never been found – is the man known as Jesus Christ. He said he was the only son of our Creator and that his father was like him. His life is documented in the most reliable records we possess of the first century, and you can see the original manuscripts in national museums like the one in London, England . He explained that you and I are actually part of him and that we are here to enjoy the life that he and his Father wish to live in each of us. Our Maker has allowed us to ignore that reality and treat life as if it belonged to us ourselves – so that we will be able see what life apart from him is like. The result is this present world – and our own strain and stress as we pretend we are self-existent beings. So we experience the nothingness that we choose when we reject His life within us, and He himself experiences it also. Only by thus facing the undesirable consequences of his own creation can he justly destroy them outside time in eternity. And that is the cosmic death and resurrection of each of our lives that was set forth in Christ’s crucifixion in 29 A.D… From our earliest preoccupation with ourselves and our own needs as babies, we have developed attitudes and bonds that chain us to the things and events and people in the world around us. We have become deeply and inextricably bound to our environment for the security, self-esteem, and happiness that we desperately need to replace the nothingness that we so often feel. But our Maker has foreseen this corruption of our personalities, and has graciously remade you outside time – but in eternity – so that you could be delivered from your own perversion here within time. Most of us cannot begin to imagine any other life than the one we live now. Of course, we say – if you need anything you get it from the world around you. That’s why we earn money and why we worry about our very survival when we lose our jobs. But this is not REAL life – this is just the “prison” life that so many of us live because we are limited to what we can get from the world around us. In thousands of ways we are as dependent as the animals on our environment. This is why we don’t seem to develop fully as the years go by. We change in some ways and improve certain skills. But there are many areas of our lives that are no different from what they were when we started living! Although we seem to be able to develop certain talents and inter-personal skills, there are many deeply-ingrained limitations that we seem unable to overcome. These are the only areas that really matter – because they are the ones that only our Maker can change through his own life within us. These radical short-comings or inherent failings and frustrations are the symptoms God has mercifully permitted in order to bring us to the central purpose of our life here on earth – to experience Him living in us so that He can live the life which he has planned! Paradoxical though it seems, the things we find hardest in our lives are the very things that drive us deeper into the life we are meant to experience with our Creator. As we delve deeper into this very heart of living, genuine growth takes place as our own self-centered living is replaced by the supernatural life of our God, who made us. This is the glorious experience of real life for which we were put on this planet – it is a life-time experience with two facets or two sides to it. Let’s talk about it next time.
Day 42: The Positive and Negative of Life on Earth - default
Day 42: Living Daily in Reality: The Positive and Negative of Life on Earth ========================================================================== The reality for which we were created is simply our Maker’s Son living in us – living the life he planned and doing the things he wishes to do through us. We simply cannot get our minds around this idea. It is so far from what we have been trained to think and do that it seems like an unrealizable and unreal dream. But the truth is that this is why our Creator made us and put us on this planet. He wanted us to have a real choice – accept his will or reject his will – see clearly what his life produces and what the absence of his life produces – and choose between them. The world we see around us now is the life that results from his absence. It’s a world from which we try to get what only his life and love can give us! We are made for the security, self-esteem, and happiness that only his love can give, but we try to fulfill all of these needs from the things, people, and circumstances of the world around us. The result is a personality that is corrupted in its very behavior – corrupted in the way it thinks, feels, and responds – corrupt in even its ability to change or adjust. How were we created to live? The Creator’s Son, Jesus Christ, expressed it very simply –“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.” Matthew 6:25-34 But we find this kind of attitude to life very difficult even though it is very attractive. However, the majority of the world does not live like this and, in fact, we could not ask for a clearer choice than we see daily – the results of living like this – and the results of not living like this! We see war and greed on one side and we see unusual compassion and generosity on the other side. We witness conflict and selfishness daily yet we come across friendship and thoughtfulness repeatedly. Nevertheless we are very clear in our minds about which comes most readily in our own lives. We have little doubt that it seems easier to think of ourselves first rather than last – it is easier to put our own needs before those of our neighbors. We find it more natural to be impatient than to be patient! Our very nature seems to favor ourselves rather than others – our very nature seems to be corrupted – or to find the way of life described by Jesus Christ harder – even impossible. We seem to be deeply flawed – we appear to have what Shakespeare portrayed as a fatal flaw in our very nature that prevents us being what we know we should be. In fact, that is the case – that is the situation. In trying to satisfy our needs from the world around us rather than the Creator within us, we have become twisted, corrupted in our very nature – in the way we think and feel. We are perverted in our basic attitude to our living here on earth.
Day 43: The Cosmic Death - default
Day 43: Living Daily in Reality: The Cosmic Death ================================================= Why do we see good and bad in our world? Why do we often witness deeds of heroic unselfishness on the one hand – and then actions of extreme selfishness and cowardice on the other? Because our Creator wants us to see clearly the consequences of the choice we make. This world is a simple demonstration of life lived as if there’s no God – no creator – as if we had made ourselves! When we live like that we become perverted and corrupted. We were designed to to bathe in the approval of the loving Father who made us to express his only Son, but we reject that whole plan and try to get from the approval of others the sense of self-esteem that we need. This deception develops throughout our being a perversion and corruption that we cannot correct because our whole nature is affected. This is why all our self-help systems and religious observances fail. All of them require the consistent exercise of our wills, but this is the very place where our failure lies – the despairing cry of human beings is the same in every country – â€œthe good that I want I do not do, but the evil that I do not want is what I doâ€(cid:157)! If there is a creator we want to do what he thinks is right, but we find ourselves instead wanting to please our peers or our friends. Our little eyes search for the approval of other human beings even though we know they will die like us while our maker will live on. One might say that we are made to live from the inside to the outside – to get from God’s Son within us what he wishes to do through us; but we instead live from the outside – from what the world around us wants! The creator has put us each here to do something that he has fitted his Son to do through us, but we reject that reality and instead try to do whatever will help us to survive or gain attention. The result is that we become little sponges that soak up the praise of other people or all the material possessions we can get our hands on. It’s as if we cannot help ourselves, however hard we try. What we think is a little misunderstanding on our part about life becomes a basic perversion of our personalities that we cannot change. God foresaw that our very natures would be perverted and that only he himself could rectify them and remake them: this is the meaning of the statement in the Bible by Paul in Romans 6:6 – â€œfor we know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sinâ€(cid:157). Sin is simply living as if there’s no God – living as if he does not exist – as if we are self-existent creatures. Thus our natures have developed to get all we need from the world and our fellow-creatures; we have developed a â€œbody of sinâ€(cid:157) – a physical and mental organism that operates as if it is on its own – self-dependent – with no maker – no loving Father. It now exerts its perverted habits on us so that we cannot do what we know is right – what we were made to do. Our physical and mental natures have become a â€œbody of sinâ€(cid:157) that is no longer ruled by our own wills but responds in knee-jerk reaction to the world around us. This is why God expressed in his son’s death the cosmic death that he suffered in each one of us in eternity – that great present moment that is eternity. He alone can radically change what he has made and what we have perverted. This is the meaning of the cosmic death expressed by his son in 29 A.D. – â€œfor we know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved to sinâ€(cid:157).
Day 44: Why can We not do Right? - default
Day 44: Living Daily in Reality: Why Can We Not Do Right? ========================================================= Paul expressed in the first century the paradox many of us have experienced: “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my body another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my nature. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Then he answers: “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.” Our Maker made us part of his only Son so that he could have other children who would live with Him forever. To give us the chance to freely accept his will, he allowed us to express or repress his son’s Spirit in us so that we could see in this world what life without him is like and what life with him is like. Thus we see day by day what happens to the world and us ourselves when we live as if there’s no God and as if we know best. So we miss badly our maker’s love and approval and we try to make up for them by getting them from the world of people and things around us. This whole attitude is known as sin – living as if there’s no God. The result is a deep perversion of our own natures which become more and more like “bodies of sin” – personalities – minds, emotions, wills that are twisted to get from the world what we’re meant to get from God. This corruption is so complete that only the Maker can remake us – and this is what God did in eternity outside this time-space world – in his Son’s death and resurrection. Here is set forth the reality of God maintaining his own integrity by bearing in himself the parody we have created as part of his son. This perversion of our psychological and spiritual natures is worked out daily in our practical lives; it is part of the temporary unreality in which most of us live, but which all of us can replace with the new version of ourselves that has already been made in Jesus Christ. Our own frustrations and failures come from thinking they stem just from our own weak wills rather than the total corruption of our natures that only our Maker can rectify. This also explains why our endless self-help techniques are always unable to bring us total deliverance or change. The problem is not just our wills or our minds or our environment or our heredity – the problem is the radical perversion that has occurred in our original nature. We have to be changed deeply – really destroyed and remade by our Maker. But this can occur only if we see the need for it – and only if we want it! These are the two factors that we confront day after day on this earth.
Day 45: Our Maker’s Son Within Us - default
Day 45: Living Daily in Reality: Our Maker’s Son Within Us ========================================================== You are not here on your own – that’s what we’ve been talking about together for these past days! You’re not just your mother’s son or daughter put on this earth to find your way for seventy or eighty years and then go out like a light. You were made by a loving Father who made you as part of his only Son – the son that expressed himself in a human body in the first century as Jesus of Nazareth. One of his disciples put it like this – ” we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” – and the corollary of this is what Christ himself said – “you are in me, and I am in you”. You have been put here to let God’s son, Christ Jesus, live a unique version of himself through you – that’s why you exist and why you’ll exist forever. But you know as well as I do that we have not lived like that – we’ve lived as if we made ourselves – as if we have to get the world’s approval or fame to fill up the emptiness we feel inside. Our indifference to the reality that our Maker’s Son is in us leaves a very big hole – we miss the favor of our God; we miss his love and the feeling that we really do belong to somebody who cares for us; and we miss the assurance that we really will not go out like a light but will continue to live as we somehow feel we ought. Our daily lives bring home to us repeatedly both the absence and the presence of our real identity – we face the sense of resentment when people don’t respect us, but on the other hand we feel at times some of the humility of the man who washed his disciples’ feet. We face the fear of losing our jobs and our source of money and clothes, yet on the other hand we find within us some of the feeling that the Father who feeds the birds will feed us if the time comes. So, all of us have experienced the failure of the world of people and things to give us security and significance, yet we’ve also experienced feelings of goodness within us that we think must come from somebody better than ourselves. Our nature seems to let us down! We see good in the world and ourselves, but we also see bad in the world and ourselves. There seems to be something or someone inside us trying to get out; but it or he seems to be repressed or imprisoned or opposed by our own personalities that behave as if we made ourselves: we feel we have to get what we need from the world outside us rather than from someone inside us. This personality seems to be perverted or corrupted, and – try as we will – we cannot make it work from the inside out – it seems empty and incapable of living independent of the world outside. And, of course, our Creator knew this – and arranged it all this way, so that we would face the fact that we are part of his only Son. Only as part of Him could we experience in his death our Maker’s absence yet regain in his life our Maker’s presence. Only thus are we enabled to “have our cake and eat it” – to experience the nothingness that exists outside God, yet have the chance to choose the reality that exists inside God. What we see on this planet is community without God and individuality without God. Both have been graciously re-created in eternal space-time so that we are able to taste them both here in time. Only the Creator can actualize that new creation here in time and only his spirit can radically change the corrupted nature of the world and ourselves. Let’s look next time at the changes this brings.
Day 46: Who do we have to be Remade? - default
Day 46: Living Daily in Reality: Why had we to be Remade? ========================================================= The maker of the universe made you out of love – that’s what his only Son, Jesus, said – “I in them and you in me, that the world may know you have loved them even as you have loved me”. God didn’t make you as a plaything that he would throw away after seventy years; he loved you as much as his only Son – in fact, as a unique expression of his only Son. That’s why you’re here – so that our maker’s only Son could develop the universe through you as he has planned. The whole direction of our life is to be from the inside out, so that God can fulfil his will for us and the world. Our Creator has planned to live the life of his only Son in you in a way that He will never live in anyone else; but we believe the lie that we are self-created beings who have to make what we can of life on our own. This corrupts our natures. The most obvious corruption occurs when we believe that there is no such being as a creator: we believe instead that all we have is the creation, so we look to it rather than to him – outside rather than inside! We are meant to live by the life of our Maker’s Son within us so that we are motivated and animated by his energy – this love of his would fulfil us, but we have rejected that reality and look to the world around us for the fulfilment that only our Maker’s love can give us. Thus instead of living from the inside out, we live from the outside in: our whole being becomes turned inside out, perverted, corrupted – no longer working the way it was meant to. Personality has been defined and described in all kinds of ways and diagrams – none of them seem to completely express all the mental and spiritual experiences we have, but there’s one that helps to show how our inner lives have become corrupted. It pictures our personal life as expressing itself on three different levels – spirit, soul, and body. Through the capacities of our spirits – the real, innermost you – we communicate with the creator of the universe: thus is he able to sustain our lives in himself long enough for us to begin to understand how thoroughly our nature has been turned inside out. We cannot change our egotism and ego-centric self-existence; indeed this misconception that we can change ourselves is the very heart of sin – the very essence of our belief that we have made ourselves. The problem is not lack of will-power or understanding; the problem is an incorrigibly wilful belief that we have made ourselves and control our own destiny. We simply do not see ourselves as part of our Maker’s Son. We believe we made ourselves, and our current personalities make it impossible for us to think or act otherwise. Only our maker’s son who is still within us can change that. Only He can untwist our natures and displace them with His own. This reality was expressed in his son’s death at Calvary in 29 A.D. – only by bearing the effects of our autonomous sin within himself was He able in the integrity of his own nature to sustain our existence despite our natures. This foreseen and foreordained event in eternity can be actualized here in time – only by God himself. As you adapt your thinking to this fact and walk by faith in this reality, so the Creator begins to work within you and give you intuition about your actions and behavior. As you walk in this light, you have fellowship with Him and the blood of Jesus – i.e. the vital life of our Creator’s son – cleanses you from all sin (all separateness from him). We have a lot of wrong ideas about sin – we talk about the terrible sin of fornication or the sin of stealing or the sin of paedophilia – these are not sins – they’re sinful actions and immoralities but sin is regarding yourself as self-existent, self-made, independent of any creator or god. That’s why we assert ourselves and put down others and it’s why we are unsure of ourselves – because we are surrounded by people and a universe that we can’t control. Yet we can’t change this way of thinking – we automatically worry and fear and bluster – but we don’t seem able to change. This is why God has allowed our free will free play until we see the monstrous world we monsters have made – and accept its renewal and ours wrought in eternity – outside time! Only then do we begin to know our spirits – our innermost beings as we really are – in Him.
Day 47: Does the Mind Understand or Manipulate? - default
Day 47: Living Daily in Reality: Does the Mind Understand or Manipulate? ======================================================================== As we begin to live in reality rather than the fantasy that we are self-made, autonomous creatures, our personalities start to work the way they were intended – from the inside out. This changes the way our minds work. Why does the mind think the way it does? Why does it spend so much time trying to work out what the other person is planning to do or what he thinks of us? Why do we go over and over the things that have happened to us that day or what we are going to do to solve the situation? Why is our mind continually working out how to move the chessmen of our circumstances and relationships so that we achieve what we wish for ourselves? Why do we find ourselves unable to think of a way around or through a certain problem – why do circumstances and people seem so intractable and unmanageable? Why do we simply run out of ideas? Come to the end of our own resources? Because our minds were not created to work out all these things – they were made to understand what our Maker has planned so that we could then direct our faculties to bring that about. But even though Einstein, when faced with a problem would excuse himself by saying in his quaint English “I will a little tink” and then would return later with a possible solution, we think we can create things ourselves with our own minds. Einstein said in his matter-of-fact way “all ideas come from God”, but we dismiss that as just a figure of speech – despite the fact that he – and others like him – imply that ideas and directions come from outside themselves. So Elgar said his music is in the air, and the poets have always talked of the Muse or the spirit bringing words and ideas to them. And this, of course, is the way our Maker has planned that his son would exercise his will and thoughts to complete his Father’s universe through us whom he made the “crown of creation”. But when we try to live this way, we find we cannot – our minds and personalities are so used to looking outside ourselves to the people and things and circumstances around us, that we cannot make our minds move as they were designed to move. Indeed, we have no relationship with our Maker and we spend no time in spooky activity like prayer or meditation – there simply is not time for that kind of thing – nor is there any sense in it. Obviously, our personalities have become twisted out of shape and perverted so that they cannot work the way they were meant to. Only our maker can remake them – this is why the cosmic miracle took place – it’s why we were created in the Maker’s Son – so that he could experience for his Father all the agony of his own nature being destroyed and twisted and perverted – and thus be justified in being what he is himself. Only then would our relationship to Him be justified and realistic – only then could his love triumph over the unthinkable. A famous poet was sitting on a rock in the Lake District in England and remembering his boyhood days there – he said: And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, 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 thought, And rolls through all things. Even though we may not have expressed our feelings in the same words we have all had those moments when we thought there was some other mind present besides our own – this is what faith is – and living by faith is listening for the thoughts of that mind. The famous German general, Bismarck, called it ” listening for the footsteps of God”. In no way does God “MAKE” us do what He has planned; he accompanies us and gently nudges us as a dear friend – who would bear from us even the willfulness of Calvary.
Day 48: The Mind Understands and Executes the Creator’s Will! - default
Day 48: Living Daily in Reality: The Mind Understands and Executes the Creator’s Will We’re talking about how our personalities seem to have got knocked out of shape. They were made to work from the inside out – from the thoughts and plans of our Creator inside us, but instead they work from the outside in – our minds are always trying to manipulate our circumstances or other people so that they will serve our purposes. Throughout history statesmen like Churchill or Bismarck often sensed that the great events that mould our nations and our individual lives are controlled by some higher power that brings about results that surprise and bewilder the human beings involved in them. So Bismarck described his leadership and primary motivation as “listening for the footsteps of God”; and Churchill noted how many developments in the lives of nations and individuals depend on events that seem almost accidental in their origins. And the Bible talks about God making his ways known to Moses and his works to the children of Israel, while Jesus explains to his disciples that he has called them friends NOT servants because a servant does not know what his master is doing. Similarly our Maker put us here to give us the chance to acknowledge him and to get to know and understand him by developing the world as he saw best. We, on the other hand, smile condescendingly at the idea of listening for God’s footsteps and try to teach each other how to use our minds to promote our own schemes and plans. Thus our minds become more and more twisted out of their original shapes until eventually we end up playing games with ourselves, other people, and the world of values itself. Often we look at situations, hold up our hands in exasperation and think “what does it matter – whether it goes this way or that!” We feel the whole arbitrariness of whether this company goes bankrupt or that one – whether these people are abandoned or these people are saved. The reason is that our minds are quite neutral instruments that attack or defend whatever they are told to – much like a good lawyer or attorney or defending counsel or prosecutor. Our minds themselves lack direction and have difficulty forming one because they are created to understand and direct our wills rather than to originate plans in a vacuum. The truth is that there’s only one person who knows the way this world is meant to work and develop, and that is the one who made it. He gave us minds so that we could freely understand what he has in mind and then explain and infer from that what we and others are to do. Because we’re made in our Maker’s image we are called to rule and control and fill and subdue the world – but UNDER his guidance and direction. If a human mind thinks that it made itself and controls its own life as it pleases, it finds itself like a boat without a rudder. The wind blows it wherever it pleases and the boat lacks a stable, consistent course and wanders this way and that while it constantly doubles back on its course. The human mind has operated this way for centuries so that the minds we possess are the results of centuries of breeding along with gene mutations and environmental forces: all of these combine to produce a perverted, twisted instrument that is almost unmanageable. Our Creator allowed this to occur so that we would be able to see for ourselves the effects of his absence and the ineffectiveness of our lives without him. We are his workmanship created in his only son for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, but our minds have become virtually incapable of fulfilling that purpose. Only he himself can destroy their perverted nature and remake us in his Son as we originally were. This is why all our own attempts to bring this about are destined to fail because we’re using a damaged instrument to remedy itself.
Day 49: We Live Like Self-made People - default
Day 49: Living Daily in Reality: We Live Like Self-made People ============================================================== You are part of our loving Father who created the universe. He adopted you as his own child when He made you in his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This gentle human being came and lived on this earth in Palestine when Tiberius was emperor: he had disciples who wrote the details of his actions and words in books whose manuscripts are in many of our leading Museums: so we can be more certain of his words than of any other famous men of that time. For though we believe Plato and Aristotle on the basis of about twenty manuscripts written hundreds of years after their births, we have thousands of manuscripts to substantiate the life of Jesus of Nazareth. And we were made as part of him even before he came to earth. But we don’t believe that reality! We live upside down – outside-in – as if we really did make ourselves. We look outside not inside for what we need. We use our minds to manipulate stocks and people, things and circumstances to meet our need for security and significance. Our maker knows what he has made and foresaw the mess we would make of our own natures, but he resolved to bear our cruelties and passions within his own son so that we would see what life with him and without him was like. We, of course, don’t see that his son’s death was just a temporal expression of the pain and death our Maker bore outside time in eternity, so we persist in trying to fix our broken selves by our own broken abilities. This is why we face such frustration when we try to overcome our bad temper or our persistent lust. We are using wills and minds that have been enslaved to people and things for years and years. In fact, our natures are not human any longer – they are carnal – totally depraved over centuries of inbreeding – not just incapable of changing themselves, but utterly opposed to such action. This is why we experience such limited success with our self-help systems: we are using damaged instruments (our own contorted faculties) to try to adjust the mal-function of those same faculties. Our maker knew that we would develop whole individual and societal systems that would be based on self-made people; so he permitted its creation but remade the real world and real people outside time as they were originally. Only the complete replacement of the old damaged world with the original creation can solve our problems – this eternal event is what the temporal death of his son at Calvary expresses. Outside time – in the real world whose attributes we are beginning to glimpse in quantum physics – God destroyed our perverted natures and fallen world and remade the invisible, real world that is permanent. As we live in that faith, our minds begin to operate so that they can understand our maker’s plans for his son’s life in each of us; we then experience a world of consequences and responses that are governed by God’s wisdom rather than chaos. But our creator wants us to understand what he is like and how we have personal existence in him, so he wants us to understand that he has planned each day of our life; but our full enjoyment depends on our perception of his will through intuition as we get to know him. Then we can use our minds to understand his guidance so that we are able to express his will through our thoughts, words and actions. But we have developed an individual and social process that operates in direct opposition to this: so we see daily the difference between life with him and life without him. Although he can remake us as well-behaving robots, our father-creator wants friends, therefore he replaces our broken selves only as we see and accept the changes. Thus each day we have opportunities to see and accept his work in us. Full of ourselves we look out on a world of people and things that we seek to use and that seek to use us; our little minds and emotions are affected by them moment-by-moment: our wills are often by-passed or subverted by knee-jerk mental and physical reactions, and our consciences lack certainty while our world becomes more chaotic each year. Through all this chaos, our maker continues to save you and me from the increasing threat, so let’s discuss how this happens in our daily lives.
Day 50: We need a Cosmic Rectification - default
Day 50: Living Daily in Reality: We Need a Cosmic Rectification =============================================================== Your Creator has made you part of his own Son – inside himself – so that he personally would face all the consequences of your rejection of him as your maker and father. Only thus could he bear your necessary destruction in his Son’s humanity yet justly recreate you in his Son’s divinity. This is the eternal millisecond event that alone can transform the perversion we have brought upon ourselves. You and I endeavor to live as self-existent, self-made beings. But we find we have needs that only a maker’s love can supply – security, significance, happiness; so we look to the world of things, people, and circumstances to meet these needs. Not only has this produced the chaos of our present world, but it has deeply perverted and contorted our original natures. We try to establish our significance or importance by convincing other people to respect or fear or praise us: even the involuntary movements of our eyes show how much we seek favorable attention from others. Thus our bodies seek reassurance for our minds that we do not need the approval of any god greater than ourselves while our whole being becomes incorrigibly dependent on others’ opinions. But this sin or autonomy is like quick-sand; the more you try to get out of it, the deeper you sink into it. So, for instance, our self-help efforts to produce humility usually end up as self-conscious modesty. Moreover, we find this self-made willfulness has a stubborn, self-preserving assertiveness that defeats all our valiant attempts to root it out: however many self-improvement books or techniques we use, we find that somehow self-centeredness gets the upper hand and we find our life contaminated by self in many areas of our lives. We cannot believe that otherwise mature and balanced people could have such trouble with attitudes that they wish to avoid and habits that spoil their lives. Because of this apparently irrational behavior in ourselves, many of us set out to analyze carefully our inner lives and tackle the symptoms one-by-one. First we deal with the obvious ones like physical indiscipline in eating or exercise; then we move on to destructive family attitudes like irritability, argumentativeness, critical comments and bitter resentments. Meanwhile we move on to the work attitudes of driving ambition and desire to be noticed with the accompanying vices of envy, pride, and jealousy. But we find by the time we’ve found some success in these, the others that we overcame have sprung up again; so we have to start all over – until we gradually realize there is some common attitude here that continues even after the symptom has been suppressed. This self-existent, self-made conviction that governs our lives seems to be a many-headed monster that touches every part of life and personality. The reality is that old-fashioned sin is simply “missing the mark” – missing or evading the reality that you have a loving Father who made you. It’s a bit like missing the key on the keyboard – you can’t remember what others you might have hit in trying to find the right one. The results of missing the mark are so numerous that there’s no way you can track down all the parts of your original nature that have gone wrong. Only God himself can rectify the myriad erroneous connections and short-circuits that we have created between our spirit, soul and body; our daily frustration with ourselves comes from our belief that a DIY (do it yourself) job will solve this. Nothing but a complete replacement will restore us – we are like the old man who was offered millions for his little house on a unique building site in the city: he was amazed at the price, and he spent weeks trying to make it worth the price. At last he finished all his repairs and renovations: the buyer came with his check – AND his bull-dozer – he wanted only the site – the house had to be completely removed and he intended to build a far bigger and better one. We tinker with our personalities and try to organize the parts, but only the Maker can remake it the way it was meant to be. It needs to be bulldozed and remade completely. 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 creation No 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 giveth I 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 51: The Changing of our Personalities - default
Day 51: Living Daily in Reality: The Changing of our Personalities ================================================================== Reality is that our maker is actually our loving Father – Â who made us part of his only son so that he could live in you and me the life on earth that he has planned.Â Â Now let us try to synthesize briefly that simple but complex reality – so that we can study its practical application to our daily lives. All diagrams simply represent ideas of facts that are much more complex, so this one that we will use is â€œone of manyâ€(cid:157) that could be used.Â Â It is by no means a perfect explanation of the human personality and there are many other diagrams that are equally useful, but this one helps us understand the relationship between us, our maker, and the world.Â Â So let’s use it as an easy way to talk together about these things. It looks like the Jewish temple that consisted of three areas – the Holy of holies where God Himself dwelt in darkness, the Holy Place, where the altar and ark of the covenant were, and the Outer Court where people gathered. Â Â We liken it to the levels of our human personalities.Â Â Â The outermost part is our body, which sees and hears and touches this physical world, our inner psychological part which thinks and feels and decides, and our innermost self that can communicate with our maker.Â Â Sometimes these levels are termed body, soul, and spirit. We’ve been saying our personalities were meant to work from the inside out – from God’s directing us to the world outside.Â Â God made us to trust him and his love for all that we need – his love would give us security and a sense of significance and happiness Â But instead, we live from the outside in – dependent on the world rather than its maker.Â Â So, we were created to trust the love of God but instead we trust the love of the world. Â If God is really your own personal father and if he loves you as much as his own Son, then he will make sure you have enough food and clothing – and you won’t care what others think about you.Â Â But if you don’t believe he’s your own loving father, then you have to ensure your security with the things in this world and your importance from people’s opinion of you, and your happiness from pleasant circumstances.Â That’s what we have done – so we live outside in instead of inside out.Â Â And this has corrupted our nature, twisted the way one part affects another,Â so that it can no longer operate the way it was meant to. Our creator’s Son has things to do through you, so in your innermost self (your spirit) he gives you intuitions as you communicate with him and your conscience constrains your will to use your mind to understand God’s directives so that your emotions provide exhilaration to energize your body to affect people, things, and circumstances accordingly.Â Â But as we instead try to get from the world security and significance and happiness, we use our minds to manipulate things, our emotions to enjoy pleasant circumstances, and our wills sink into passivity.Â Â Â Through self-help and education we try to change the systemic corruption but our Maker knew the corruption was radical and had to be changed by Him who had permitted it.Â Â So in the millisecond of the eternal present (which encompasses the time before the creation of the world AND the time after its renewal) he destroyed our corrupted natures in his only Son and remade them in his resurrection. This is the cosmic action of our Maker that was expressed in time in his Son’s crucifixion in Jerusalem in the first century.Â Â His son – Jesus of Nazareth – included the whole human race and God saw the whole development as it has taken place – and rectified our natures outside time in eternity.Â Â Â Our â€œold self was crucified with Himâ€(cid:157) so that our independent nature might be destroyed and we might no longer be enslaved by it.
Day 52: How Did we Get Where we Are? - default
Day 52: Living Daily in Reality: How Did We Get Where We Are? ============================================================= We were made by our creator as part of his only son so that he could share his life and love with us. But he gave us individual existence and self-consciousness which we were free to accept or turn into self-centeredness. He foresaw that this would enable us to see him in contrast to what he was not; so today’s world is what he is not. Through the centuries, his son has borne our self-assertion and sin within himself so that we might continue to exist, but this independence has corrupted our basic nature so that we are unable to live the life we were made for. The corruption of our human nature into carnal nature can be diagrammed in many ways but one way that shows our fatal dependence on the world instead of its creator looks like this. We were meant to trust and depend in our innermost selves or spirits on the love of our dear creator: his care would give us the security, significance and happiness of his love – as we lived close to him in the communion of daily friendship. So he would give us intuition to guide our lives as we developed the earth’s resources while our consciences would constrain our wills to govern our minds to understand the creator’s directions, and our emotions would supply the dynamic to express his joy in his creation. In this inside to outside movement of life from our maker to his world we ourselves would become more like him in inner character, and the earth would reflect his beauty and balance. However, we turned this completely on its head – upside down, inside out, so that the system now works backwards – with the fatal consequences that we see around us every day. Ignoring him we regard ourselves as self-made and therefore responsible for our own security so we try to get as many things – shelter, food, clothing – as will give us a sense of security in this life. As we see the billions of other human beings around us, we feel our smallness and unimportance, so we become preoccupied with making ourselves stand out from the rest – self-esteem, celebrity status, admiration become a big part of our lives. But as life passes, we feel that we should have some happiness before we die, so we desperately try to experience the peace and the excitement that we think we need. The result of this outside to inside life is frustration and futility. We never seem to get enough security, significance and happiness to satisfy us. Meanwhile our very nature is contorted. Where our minds were created to understand our maker’s intuitions within us, they are used to work out how to manipulate others and our circumstances to increase our security; where our emotions were meant to express the joy of our maker and our use of our abilities they are consumed with trying to enjoy or get exhilaration from things and experiences; where our wills were meant to direct our minds and actions as they were constrained by our consciences, they become passive and enslaved to the needs of our bodies and emotions. Our maker foresaw this total corruption of our natures before he made the world – when he created us as part of his only son, allowed it to take place so that we could see what nothingness outside him was like, and then graciously bore the godlessness in his son, destroyed it (the “lamb slain from before the foundation of the world”) and remade it – all in the eternal millisecond of the actual singularity that our physicists seek. This moment in eternity (where a thousand years are as one day), is now being replayed in slow-motion in our present world so that we can know it and experience it. Let’s begin in these coming days to receive from our maker the reality that he has wrought for us and in us.
Day 53: Escaping from Our Present Predicament - default
Day 53: Living Daily in Reality: Escaping From Our Present Predicament ====================================================================== Â Our Creator has made us part of his only Son, and he has given his son the task of filling this planet with his Father’s life through each one of us.Â Â But we must will to do that or make his Son suffer through us the nothingness of living off an empty planet.Â Our Maker foresaw what we would do and chose to bear it in his Son until we would choose reality. The chaos of this planet and the corruption of our own nature is the nothingness that exists outside God.Â Â As we try to get people’s approval and a feeling of security from possessions instead of from our Maker’s love, world chaos grows and our personalities are increasingly twisted out of shape.Â Â Outside time – in the infinity of space suggested by our latest space-shots – God ended all this in his Son, so that inside time He is able make us new.Â Â So each of us is faced with the choice that we simplified in the diagram last time. But nothing can make up for the unique expression of God’s Son in you that makes you different from every other human being that has existed or will exist. God saw all of this as it occurred in his only Son, and knew that only he (the original maker) could reproduce his Son’s image in you.Â Â This he did in that eternal millisecond when you became part of his workmanship in Christ Jesus.Â Â In other words, our Maker has allowed us to see in our present life what life apart from him is like but has concomitantly – at the same time in a â€˜parallel universe’ – re-created us so that His son can live in us the life His father planned.Â Â Only our Maker himself can actualize this eternal life here in time – because it involves the miracle of remaking his son in us.Â Â Â This is why we face such frustration with our self-help, self-improvement programs – the change needed is radical and can be wrought only by the Creator himself.Â Â This is what he has done – above time – in eternity or infinity – much as our quantum physicists talk about parallel universes and quanta that can be in two states at the same time.Â So our Maker inspired Paul to write â€œhave this mind in you which you have in Christ Jesusâ€(cid:157) implying that there are two versions of you – and it’s possible to live in one or the other.Â Although our Maker has power over everything, He will not act against your will – He will allow us even to kill his only Son so that we can choose between nothingness and his Son living a unique expression of himself in you.Â This is why you were made – to be and do something that God’s son can only do and be in you.Â Â That’s why you are here.Â It’s also why you are where the Creator himself has placed you – â€œGod, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he has loved us, even when we were dead in our sins (dead to him in our independence of him) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesusâ€(cid:157).Â Â This is our real, permanent position, from which we are intended to live our unique life here on this planet.Although our Maker has power over everything, He will not act against your will – He will allow us even to kill his only Son so that we can choose between nothingness and his Son living a unique expression of himself in you.Â This is why you were made – to be and do something that God’s son can only do and be in you.Â Â That’s why you are here.Â It’s also why you are where the Creator himself has placed you – â€œGod, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he has loved us, even when we were dead in our sins (dead to him in our independence of him) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesusâ€(cid:157).Â Â This is our real, permanent position, from which we are intended to live our unique life here on this planet. This life – lived from the inside out – is the life we’re talking about living in reality!Â But we, of course, have effectively mutilated Christ’s nature in us so only our Father can re-create that nature within us just as only He could raise Jesus from the dead.Â So each one of us – you, too – have a unique life to live as Our Creator’s Son within us guides us.Â Â He Himself is within you as you are within Him, but like the rest of us you now know some of the ways His nature within you have become corrupted by the outside-inside life you have lived so far.Â Â As you have uniquely crucified Him within you, so only His Father can re-create His Son within you as you accept the crucifixion of that old self of yours which occurred in Him in eternity.Â Â No psychiatrist or self-improvement book can re-create the Son of God within you; and only you can discover and express the new personality that God has already resurrected in eternity.
Day 54: How do we get where God has put us? - default
Day 54: Living Daily in Reality: How do we get where God has put us? ==================================================================== We’ve been talking about the start of our life here on this planet.Â Â Using the explanations given by the only human being that has ever convincingly explained and demonstrated in his life and death that he really was the Son of our Creator, we’ve said that you and I were created as part of our Maker’s son to fill the earth with his life.Â Â But God knew we could only know and understand Him if we knew the nothingness that was the only alternative.Â Â So he made it possible for us to reject his love and his son in whom we existed, bore the pain of his son’s separation from himself, and made you and me again in the millisecond singularity of eternity.Â Â You and I have this second chance – but only our Creator knows the particular short-circuits and peculiar corruptions that have occurred in each of us.Â Â We’ve been given this life to receive our personal reconciliation to our loving Father. So when you feel you’re a little nothing – and that nobody notices you or cares whether you even exist, the only answer you can think of is to show people how important or unique you are.Â Â You â€œthrow your weight aroundâ€(cid:157) – you boast about something you can do well – or you insist on someone doing something they don’t really need to do.Â Â If you’re a parent or teacher or boss, you create an incident or argument by insisting that something is done in a certain way or at a certain time that isn’t really necessary.Â The strange thing is that this often makes other people ignore you more so that you seem important only as long as the incident lasts. But your judgment becomes impaired so that you can’t see the futility of your boasting or your domineering manner so you intensify it until it becomes second-nature to you.Â Â That preoccupation with making an impression corrupts your natural importance as the only expression of your Creator’s son that is exactly like you.Â Â Instead of growing in the quiet confidence that your Maker’s eye is always on you, you become preoccupied with getting the attention of men’s eyes and find that you cannot bear to be overlooked.Â Â Even when you become aware of your own pride or envy you find you can’t stop it because little short-circuits have been developed in your eyes’ connection to your brain and your brain’s connection to your sense of significance – and this short-circuit by-passes your will which sinks deeper into passivity. Any self-help book or psychiatry yields only temporary help because they cannot touch the basic need that is built into you by your creation in Christ Jesus – you are made for a great love – the loving evaluation of your Creator, who as Job writes â€œlongs for the creature his hands have madeâ€(cid:157) in his only son.Â Â The only way into the original reality of your creation is to settle whether this whole bit about Jesus is truth or myth.Â Â That is easily settled by intelligently and honestly studying the historical facts outlined back in Day 4.Â Â The more important step is your deciding whether you’re willing to be part of our Maker’s Son!Â Â Why wouldn’t you?Â Well, because this being – this Jesus Christ – this Son of our Creator was as dead to his own way as His Father.Â Â He had to be – to agree to his father making people like you and me and Hitler and making us inside the Son he said he loved.Â Â Moreover, the Creator himself had to be pretty dead to his own wishes when he committed himself to giving free will to millions of beings he had created – knowing that they could and would do all they could to destroy his creation and his only Son.Â Â You have to consider if you are willing to be as indifferent to what others do to you or think of you – as your maker is!!! Are you willing to be ignored?Â By people less intelligent or aware than you are?Â Are you willing to be under-valued – to be wrongly blamed – to have your name scandalized – your reputation ruined?Â Â Are you willing to be spat upon like that man Jesus in Jerusalem – are you willing to stay inside him while he and you are despised and degraded?Â Â Â God has reconciled the world to himself by enduring the unendurable – He has brought harmony between himself and a rebellious populace by bearing their injustices.Â Â Are you willing to have that nature replace your own proud, independent one? That’s the human part of getting where God has put us.Â Â Really it’s accepting where God has put us already.
Day 55: Are you a Momentary Particle or part of our Creator? - default
Day 55: Living Daily in Reality: Are you a Momentary Particle or part of our Creator? Â Are you like one of the particles discovered by our physicists – they exist for a millisecond and then cease to exist? If you feel you are just an infinitesimal piece of matter that is self-existent and self-made, then – paradoxically – you have felt also that you’re more than that. You have felt at times that you’re made somehow for eternity, but you can’t find it. That’s what one of our most profound books states – â€œhe has put eternity in man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the endâ€(cid:157). And this is the frustration that makes so many of us want to BE SOMEONE! Somehow we feel we ARE somebody – we are more than just a number – yet – yet – we feel we’re nothing compared to the millions of other people like us!! Why do we have these contradictory feelings? Why do we strive to be a celebrity and yet feel that we’re not? Because you’ve ignored the unique part of yourself – and expressed only the outside shell that is like everyone else. The unique part of yourself is the mind and spirit of the Son of the creator of the universe. You exist to express part of him that is unique to you – that’s why you’re special! Nobody else is like you because God has put part of himself in you that he has put in no one else but his only Son. However, you feel you’re unique in yourself – not just because of the unique Son of God within you. So your nature has become perverted – twisted out of shape trying to prove your own inherent uniqueness rather than enjoying the uniqueness of the Creator’s Son within you. So you can’t naturally use the world or your own abilities but you abuse them both. In fact, your nature – with all its short-circuits – uses and abuses you. This is why Paul wrote â€œif I do what I do not want, then it is no longer I that do it but sin which dwells within meâ€(cid:157) – that’s the attitude that depends on things, people, and circumstances for our security, significance, and happiness rather than our Maker. The only cure is the remaking of this old nature – which God foresaw and experienced in his own Son and us in eternity.Â But only God can manifest that eternal transformation in us in time. And only God can clarify what part of your nature that affects – and what willingness on your part is necessary for that to take place. So the change in your nature cannot be produced by your own effort or discipline but only by your willingness to accept the particular death to self that took place in you in Christ’s death. The sense of his uniqueness within us is the only cure for our own frustration at our insignificance in others’ eyes. But that sense is possible only to one who accepts that God alone is unique and worthy of exaltation. It requires a readiness to be ignored and trampled underfoot if God wills because that’s what He Himself has done again and again. And this is possible only to one who accepts his Maker’s evaluation of him. Without that acceptance of God’s opinion of us, the reality of this death of the old, perverted nature simply exacerbates our feelings of transience as particles on the way to oblivion. The more we cling to the doomed nature, the more we feel like â€œfiddlers on a roofâ€(cid:157). The more we embrace our cosmic death in Christ, the more we experience the power of his resurrection in us. The readier we are to allow the Son of God to live a unique life in us, the more we become aware of how unique our life is – the more we are ready to lose our life the more we find it. The more we try to be unique in ourselves, the more conformed we become to everyone else. The more concerned we become with celebrity the less we are able to be the unique person we are in our Maker’s Son. But only his spirit within us can enable us to see this. Without his intuition we are imprisoned by our own insignificance and desolated by our own transience. When we take seriously his reality within us, we begin to be lifted above ourselves into his greatness. Somehow the reality of infinite life washes away the trivial nature of our own little lives and we become part of something bigger.
Day 56: I want to be Famous! - default
Day 56: Living Daily in Reality: I Want to be Famous ==================================================== This independence of God and dependence on the world is often referred to as â€œthe fleshâ€(cid:157) – trying to get satisfaction from our natural abilities rather than letting our Maker use them to express his Son’s life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote to the people at Philippi â€œif any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have moreLiving Daily in Reality circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel – as to righteousness under the law blameless. But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things that I may know him and the power of his resurrectionâ€(cid:157). This self-made feeling we have – this pride in what we regard as our own abilities and strengths is what our Maker has permitted us to experience so that we can see its limitations and unreality and can embrace instead our true nature as part of his only Son. It is this choosing that is the whole purpose of our life here on earth! It is why He made us part of his Son and then asked his Son (with us inside Him) to live an earthly life in Palestine so that he could reject for our sakes the lie of the self-existent, independent life and live the unassuming life of God himself. Each of us accepts here either the self-made version or the self-denied version of our life in God’s Son. The one is fed by the adulation and support of people and things; the other is fed by the love of our Maker for us. This is the self-existent attitude that gives us such trouble and plagues our everyday life and relationships – this attitude within that strives to be noticed and admired. It is the very basis of our feeling of self-worth and value, yet it is constantly under attack from six billion other such natures around us. All the dreadful demons of pride and jealousy spring from this confidence we have in our own self-made self-worth; all the restless drives of ambition and boasting come from this twisted desire for adulation and recognition. It seems as if our lives are designed to expose this gross misconception we have of our own inherent value and talent despite the simple fact that we are here to enjoy our Maker’s Son living in us his buoyant, inspired life. What took place in eternity, before the world was created, destroyed that parody of ourselves in Christ of whom we are a part. This was the cosmic event that surfaced in time in Jerusalem on the hill of Golgotha in the man known as Jesus of Nazareth – and, of course, it’s the very change that we have been created to experience personally here in our life on earth. What it involves is the very personal acquiescence that Paul described to the Ephesians when he said â€œwhatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ – for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things that I may know him and the power of his resurrectionâ€(cid:157). The only way you can avoid the reluctant resignation to fate that human religion urges for this hubris is the boundless joy of identification with your death and resurrection in God’s Son. Just as he â€œdid not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himselfâ€(cid:157) of his infinite nature, so he did the same with you personally so that you can accept the same peace and rest about your status and reputation. This â€œcarrying about in the body the dying of our Lord Jesusâ€(cid:157) means joyfully turning moment-by-moment from the mirage of the world’s praise and approval and choosing the apparent loneliness of God’s side. There alone is the reality of our Maker’s own nature which puts everything before itself. In that inherent self-denial rests the heart of living in reality. Why do you think you should be famous? Because there is literally no other human being just like you – you are unique – but only because your Maker’s only Son intends to live a unique version of himself through you! Your preoccupation with self-esteem and others’ opinions is fuelled by your unwillingness to allow Christ’s annihilation of that in himself to be actualized in you today. He has borne the eternal miracle – will you accept its temporal actualization today?
Day 57: The Great Mirage - default
Day 57: Living Daily in Reality: The Great Mirage ================================================= What we see then in this present world is the â€œgreat mirageâ€(cid:157) – what the world and our life would be like if there was no God.Â Â Our mental and emotional life is the result of living as if there is no Creator – as if we had made ourselves and are dependent on the world itself for all that we need.Â Â So we see a world as it would be if no one had made it – as if it had resulted somehow from the chance clash of protons and neutrons.Â Â Â And we ourselves have developed mental and emotional lives where our emotions are dependent on our outward circumstances, our minds upon their ability to manipulate things and people to preserve our own existence, and our wills are the passive executors of the effects of the outside world. Thus we are looking at a temporary, slow-motion video of the real world and the real us that exists.Â Â Our Maker has made this possible so that we would have a real choice to make between what he has made and what life would be like without him.Â Â So we ourselves are what we would be if he had not done anything about it – indeed the great purpose of our lives is to see how he has actually made us – and to allow that to come into existence here on this planet.Â Â Similarly the purpose of the world is to allow us to see clearly what life without Him would be like.Â â€œFor we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus…â€(cid:157); this has enabled us to make our own choices, pervert our natures, and adversely affect other lives, yet the Christ in whom we exist has borne all the effect of what has been done in him – and, out of love, sustained us and filtered it all through his own body – and passed to us only what we’re able to bear and stay alive! So, whether you’re Hitler or yourself, you are part of the one great human who is also the only son of our Creator, and your twisted nature with its manipulating mind, self-gratifying emotions, and passive will has been borne by our Maker’s Son, moderated daily by Him here on earth, and can therefore be expressed by you if you are willing.Â Â Our error is that we think in our pride we can fix it all ourselves, but that self-centered perversion of our self-consciousness is the heart of the problem itself – it is incapable of fixing itself – hence the failure of all our self-help techniques. We are alive on this planet so that we can see clearly what life is like without our Maker and to experience what he has made of us in the supra-temporal world that quantum physics points to.Â Â So your daily life is a unique experience that your Creator’s Son is effecting in order to let you acquiesce in his understanding and will so that he can live the life he has planned.Â This is what gives life and makes sense of everything you do and say and think.Â Â This is the great purpose of your life – not your success or fame or prosperity – though all of those may be involved; but the great purpose of your life concerns you and our Creator’s Son – you are a dear part of Him – he yearns for the person he has made you.Â Â In the words he uses in Jeremiah – he calls you â€œmy darling childâ€(cid:157).Â Our dear Maker does not want robots – he does not want sycophants or prisoners or sick parasites.Â Â He wants other children like his only-begotten son, whom we know as Jesus Christ.Â Â That’s why he made us part of him – so that we would have the same kind of life as he himself has – so that we’d come to know the same kind of love that he and his son have for each other.Â Â But this all necessitates us seeing what this life is like compared with its opposite; we have to know why we are the way we are and we have to understand what the alternative of nothingness is like.Â Â All of this was borne by the Jesus of whom you are part – so that we experience only as much of it as we can bear – filtered through his kindly fingers.Â Â This is why we’re here temporarily on this earth. So, let’s look at the sense this reality makes of your life.
Day 58: Just Step into Reality! - default
Day 58: Living Daily in Reality: Just Step into Reality ======================================================= Our Maker designed us to develop the world in dependence on Him, but we have perverted our human nature into a carnal nature that is dependent on the world.Â Â Only He can replace this perverted nature with the human nature that has been recreated in his son outside time.Â But he will do this only if we are willing to die to the unconscious, involuntary dependencies that enslave us to things, people, and circumstances.Â Â Â His Son’s Spirit enables us to experience his freedom as we see and accept the deliverance that has been wrought in the parallel universe of eternity.Â Â Â Â Â Â It is a present, continuing experience each day where we daily choose the apparent need of the day or the reality of infinite, eternal existence.Â The eternal existence is the reality which God has brought about in his Son in whom we were all originally made.Â He bore within himself the present godless life that we have chosen so that His Father was able to destroy it and re-create in him the eternal life that now exists outside time.Â This is why Paul wrote to the Corinthians, â€œ you have died and your life is hid with Christ in Godâ€(cid:157) – because this present life we live now is a â€œpassing sceneâ€(cid:157) – a scenery-set that has already been removed and replaced by reality in that parallel universe of relative time and space that Einstein showed us. This is why the Bible urges us repeatedly to â€œget realâ€(cid:157) – â€œput off the old man and put on the new manâ€(cid:157) – â€œput on the Lord Jesus Christâ€(cid:157) – â€œstand therefore in the liberty with which God has made you freeâ€(cid:157) -Â and Paul says, â€œI live this present life – yet not I , but ChristÂ lives within me – by the faith of the son of Godâ€(cid:157).Â Â Our Creator gave us the freedom to choose our own world so that we would see plainly what he was not, but at the same time in eternity he remade us and our world the way he wanted.Â Â Â That world is the real, lasting one – and it already exists (in a different part of the universe) and he now says to us daily, â€œBe what I’ve made you in reality – just turn around and step into it – don’t waste your days trying to make this present world like the real one – just be by faith what I’ve made you.â€(cid:157)Â Â But we toil laboriously to improve ourselves and our world by our own efforts.Â Â And we apply it even to what we think the Creator has done for us, so that it too becomes dependent on our own efforts and will-power.Â Â The reality is that the change has been wrought already to our world and to us: your real being is â€œright next to youâ€(cid:157) waiting for you to put it on.Â Â That’s why it comes by faith – just believe this and act accordingly – and you’ll find it’s true!Â Our Maker has foreseen all this – He determined early on that He would bear with us â€œwhateverâ€(cid:157) in order to enable us to be his real children who would love because we wanted to – not because we had to.Â Â So your â€œnew clothesâ€(cid:157) are ready – now give up your own “filthy ragsâ€(cid:157) and step into the new you that has been ready from eternity! We, of course, are inextricably caught and bound by our self-centered, self-dependent, self-asserting egos and we persist in interpreting all this as something that we have to bring about within ourselves by our own thinking and willing.Â Â We continue to interpret â€œfaithâ€(cid:157) to mean controlling our own minds and emotions so that we make this whole, miraculous, marvelous transformation take place in us.Â Â But that’s not how you stay alive – it’s not how you breathe.Â You don’t have to make your lungs and your body and your blood do all the things they have to do to keep you alive – you just have faith that the air you breathe and the food you eat will somehow nourish your body and give you strength to stay alive.Â Â The work is done for you – indeed the blood circulation and the sino-auricular node are so complex that you yourself still don’t understand exactly how to get them to work if they do go wrong.Â Â The work is not yours – it’s a gift of a body that you’ve been given.Â You just believe that and live. That’s why we’re told simply to â€œput off the old manâ€(cid:157) and â€œput on the new manâ€(cid:157) in Christ – because a â€œnew manâ€(cid:157) version of you is waitingÂ – in infinite time but ready to be transferred into time here by your Maker!Â Â All you do is – step into it!Â
Day 59: New World – New You! - default
Day 59: Living Daily in Reality: New World – New You ====================================================== Our Maker wants to fill his universe with beings like himself who give and receive his love and life.Â They can be like him only if they are free not to be like him, so he has made them part of his only Son so that he can bear the nothingness they choose yet have the opportunity to acquiesce in their recreation in him.Â This is why we find ourselves in a world that has suffered at our hands – (which have corrupted themselves in the process). Our Creator wants children who can love and whom he can love, but real love can come only from a free will.Â Â So God made us part of his only Son so that He himself could bear the effects if we chose to love ourselves rather than him.Â Â Our present world and we ourselves are part of the effects of our self-love.Â Â Both have become corrupted as we have used the world for ourselves rather than developed it for its maker.Â Â God has borne the consequences of this independence in his son, destroyed and remade it in the eternity of a parallel universe, and allowed us to see a slow-motion replay here on earth.Â Â We’re here so that we can make a real choice between that eternal life and this present one.Â Whenever we try by our own efforts to change the present fallen nature of ourselves and our world we face the fact that only the Creator can remake the mass of short-circuits that we have developed between ourselves and the world.Â Â As we try to let his only Son develop the world through us as God had planned, we find we have so corrupted our nature that our minds and emotions won’t yield to the spirit of God’s son within us. Although we try to trust God who feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, we find we still count up our bank account when we’re worried about money.Â Â We want to let the faith of the son of God direct our minds and wills, but they’re so dominated by what the outside world is doing that we can’t.Â Even though God foresaw all this and graciously remade us in the cosmic death and resurrection of his Son, He waits patiently for us to see that need and turn from our self-will to his will: this makes sense of all our present day-to-day experiences. Divorce causes pain for children and loneliness for adults in almost half our marriages today.Â Â It happens because we think marriage is for our benefit – for our comfort, prosperity, and happiness.Â Â But it was devised by God so that we would fill the earth and subdue it – and would become like Him in the process.Â That’s exactly what is happening when our partner does not understand us or the children annoy us: Christ within us nudges us to love and be patient, but we feel we should not have to put up with this kind of injustice.Â Â In our cosmic death and resurrection in Christ our old self was destroyed and we can simply accept the opposite alternative version of ourselves that now exists.Â Â But we will not bow our wills because we keep believing that this world and we ourselves are the way we were meant to be.Â Â We are not.Â Â We have become the opposite, but the original version is available if we simply choose it – it’s Christ as he wants to be – in us! Then begins our part in the mighty act whereby our Maker breaks the barrier of time and translates us into the reality of eternal life where He from the beginning created you as He meant you to be. That is, of course, as part of his only Son so he would live with your acquiescence the life that He planned from before the creation of the world.Â Â This makes you part of a glorious â€œteamâ€(cid:157) of individual beings that enjoy the unequalled freedom of a human family whose Father owns the universe and who have been equipped to enjoy it and develop it for Him.Â Â This reality will begin to show through in this life as soon as you die with Christ to your great rights and let your Creator determine how much of your partner’s rights can be trusted in His hands andÂ not yours.
Day 60: The Exchanged Life - default
Day 60: Living Daily in Reality: The Exchanged Life =================================================== To sum up then our conversations about living daily in reality, what is reality?Â Â Reality is that you are actually part of our Creator’s only son – the man known as Jesus of Nazareth who lived on the earth for more than thirty years in the first century of this present era.Â Â One of his followers has written â€œyou are the body of Christ and individually limbs of itâ€(cid:157) and he himself said to his father, our Creator, â€œI in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly oneâ€(cid:157). Sin is not just some moral failure like stealing or adultery – sin is â€œmissing the markâ€(cid:157) – missing the whole point of life – living as if there’s no God – as if you are not part of his only son!Â Â Living in this unreality is trying to get the sense of significance and security and happiness from people and things and circumstances instead of your dear Father who knows you personally as part of his only Son.Â Â When you do this, your whole personality becomes warped and corrupt so that you can’t do what you want: you try to feel how important you are to your Maker, but all the celebrity the world can give you isn’t enough.Â Â You try to feel safe and secure, but you can never get enough money or possessions – and circumstances never give you the happiness that only reality provides! Â So your life works outside in rather than inside out.Â Â This inbred sin or dependence on the world has made it impossible for your maker’s son to live the unique life in you that he has planned, so you’re left with the unsatisfactory existence you have – you don’t believe there’s anyone inside you except your own thoughts, so you have no idea what your Maker’s son wants to do through you, so you use your mind to manipulate things and people and circumstances for your own security, significance and happiness.Â This results in hundreds of short-circuits that develop between your eyes (looking for peer approval) and your mind and between your feelings (looking for peace and exhilaration) and your circumstances.Â Â When you try to fix these internal malfunctions through self-help and the power of positive thinking you find you can’t – your whole human-nature has become carnal nature that will not do what it was made to do.Â It was made to express the part of God’s Son that only you can express – so only God can put it right. That’s what our creator expressed in Jesus Christ’s historical crucifixion in 29 A.D. and it’s what he did in eternity before the world was made – when he foresaw that we could have the free will to love him only if we had the opportunity to do the opposite.Â Â He knew he would have to bear that, and he did – and has – every day of our lives – and will – until we stop killing him inside ourselves!Â Â He has replaced your old self – that outside-in nature in his only Son – and replaced it with a new creation – an inside-out nature.Â Only his Son’s spirit in you can realize this reorientation of your whole personality – only his spirit can reveal to you the next psychological or spiritual short-circuit that he has replaced in you within Himself.Â Â Only our maker knows exactly how each of us is missing the life he has for us. Only he can sort us out – and that’s the secret to your life here – to let our maker’s Son within you remake your very nature so that your life can be fulfilled in him.Â Your nature is broken – let Christ replace it with his so that your life becomes an expression of His.Â Let’s look at the sense this exchanged life can make of the problems and difficulties we face each day. HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING? Â My life flows on in endless song Above earth’s lamentation; I hear the real though distant hymn That hails a new creation No 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 giveth I 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 61: Good and Bad News - default
Day 61: Living Daily in Reality: Good and Bad News ================================================== The good news is that your Maker is your personal loving Father who made you part of his only Son so that he could express himself through you in his universe. The bad news is that you don’t accept that and your nature has become dependent on that universe instead of his love. You can see the result from the red arrows in this diagram that your needs for security, significance and happiness begin to depend on things and people and circumstances outside rather than on the Maker’s son inside – so your very nature becomes corrupted as you try to get from things and people and circumstances what only your Father’s love can give. So as you can see by the green arrows in the diagram, instead of letting our Maker’s Son inside us develop the world through us, we develop our personalities to get from the world outside what we are made to get from our Maker’s spirit inside us. Our inner consciousness of God – our spirit – dies, and our psychological part – our soul – is corrupted and perverted so that the mind is bent on manipulating things and people and circumstances for our benefit instead of understanding our maker’s plans for them and us, the will on asserting our rights rather than submitting to our maker’s will for us, and the emotions on enjoying self-gratification rather than rejoicing in the abilities we exercise. Let’s look now during these next ten talks at the ways this corrupted human nature becomes a carnal nature that we cannot control but can only be remade by its Maker. We find in our everyday practical lives that our minds, emotions and wills seem to be controlled at times by a carnal nature that frustrates all the efforts we make at self-improvement. We’ve read so many self-help books and tried so many “wonder” techniques, but still we cannot – as the Bible says – “do the good we want”, but instead “do the evil we do not want”. We try to use our minds, for instance, to give to the world and others the things they need, but we find them dominated by a habit of getting things for our own security. Our history books, substantiated by thousands of Greek manuscripts and the lives and deaths of contemporaries confirm that the Creator’s Son, the first-century Jesus of Nazareth, said â€œconsider the birds of the air – they do not sow or reap and yet your heavenly Father feeds them – will he not also feed you?â€(cid:157) However, we do not recognize that this Jesus is actually in us so we have no belief like him that our Father knows us or cares about our food. Therefore we have no assurance that he would give us what we need; besides everyone around us assumes that money is essential to buy food, so obviously we have to earn money to stay alive – this is the main purpose of work. This, of course, sets up one of the most basic short-circuits in our personalities – security comes from money and money comes from work. As the Bible says â€œby the sweat of your brow you eat breadâ€(cid:157), so worry about losing your job and anxiety in a recession create a perverted chain reaction between our work and our basic sense of security. Moreover that has become so ingrained in human nature that we refer to it as â€œinbred sinâ€(cid:157) – meaning the attitude of a fool that there is â€œno Godâ€(cid:157) has become natural for us humans. All of us know the stomach upset that occurs when we lose our jobs or hear that our company is in trouble. Even though you know it’s wrong to worry, you somehow can’t control the restlessness that makes you toss and turn in bed at night. The problem is not acid in the stomach or lack of tranquillizers or even a steadier job or more stable company – the problem is that you are absolutely convinced that only money can guarantee your security and enough food to keep you alive – because you have no sense that your Maker’s son is in you to do something that he can do only through you – and, therefore, your loving Father is going to ensure you have what food you need. But the connection between your stomach and your mind’s grasp of the economic situation is such a basic habit of all the cells in your body that you cannot change it – however hard you try. This old corrupt nature is so dependent on its environment that it cannot respond to Christ’s spirit within you, so – as we discussed in number 47 of these talks, God foresaw this before he made us – and remade you in eternity outside time. So deliverance from insecurity about your job and livelihood requires your old nature to be replaced by the nature of Christ. God will actualize that only if you are willing. Are you willing to die to your own judgement of how much food you really need? Are you willing to let your Maker’s son live the life he planned through you? Will you trust Him to get what you need – and concentrate on letting him do the particular work that he can do only through you and your unique life?
Day 62: Triumph of Life over Death - default
Day 62: Living Daily in Reality: Triumph of Life over Death =========================================================== Our creator made us as part of his only Son so that he himself would bear the deathly consequences if we chose nothingness instead of his design to develop the universe through his Son in us.Â As we ignore this inner life and his love, our human nature becomes warped through trying to get security, significance and happiness from the things, people and circumstances of this little planet. Our maker foresaw all of this outside time in a parallel universe (such as the quantum physicists have posited) and re-fashioned all of us and our world in his son, so we may live out that triumph over the encroaching death of our present world.Â So our life here has two purposes – a personal one and a social one.Â The personal one is to experience the change of our carnal outward-inward nature to the inward-outward human nature of our Maker’s son.Â Â The social one is to express the development of our world that has been wrought in Christ even before the world’s creation.Â Both of these were mentioned by Christ’s apostle, Paul,Â when he wrote â€œthe cross…by which the world was crucified to me and I to the worldâ€(cid:157)(Galatians 6:14) and â€œGod was in Christ reconciling the world to himselfâ€(cid:157)(2 Corinthians 5:19).Â The plain implication is that the Creator foresaw the complex corruption of our nature we would cause by our dependence on the world rather than Him – as well as the complex corruption of the physical and social world – and he reconciled both of them outside time. These gracious reconciliations outside time are sometimes manifested inside time when we discover a spare body-part in the leg that can replace a blocked vein to the heart or see the destructive power of greed exposed by financial crises.Â Â Often human ingenuity and effort are both equally impotent when a solution suddenly appears that was there all along.Â Â We are alive on this planet to work with the reconciliations or repairs that our Creator has already in place – or (as Paul wrote to the Ephesians in Ephesians 2:10) â€œwe are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in themâ€(cid:157). This then is reality – you are part of our Maker’s son for him to reproduce in you facets of his character that only your unique personality can express – and also for him to add and organize little bits of this world that he can do only through you.Â Â All of the character and the achievements are already in place – you have simply to do the actions.Â Â Sometimes the result will seem to be improvement like Jesus healing the blind man while at other times it will seem to be failure like Jesus’ own death on the cross.Â Â But always you can know that it was a power beyond your own that did the work!Â Â So, as you move in this way, you’ll sense that your Maker loves you and will provide what you need.Â Â This enables you to take a different attitude to the world: instead of emptying and being defeated by it, you fill it and subdue it – as you were meant to do through the Creator’s Son in you.Â Â The result is a life of joy and lightness of heart.
Day 63: The Real Purpose of Work - default
Day 63: Living Daily in Reality: The Real Purpose of Work ========================================================= Your Maker made you and put you on this planet for two purposes – first, to do something in his universe that only you can do – and secondly, to become more like him. His only born son, who lived in Palestine as Jesus of Nazareth about 30 A.D. (our most reliable history books detail his life and words in detail) said that “every hair of your head is numbered” so, undoubtedly your maker knows your name and made no other person just like you. In fact, one of Jesus’ closest friends said that we all are “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”, so there are things today that our Creator has prepared for you to do, but the choice is always yours -Â as Jesus implied when he said to the citizens of Jerusalem “how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens, but you would not!”.Â So even though our maker has everything laid out for you today, he works with your moment-by-moment will -Â just as our high-frequency trading computers can make thouands of decisions in a second to buy stocks and shares in the light of what others have bought or sold a millisecond earlier. So today you will walk a known way – a way prepared lovingly for you by the one who knows where every bird will fly and where every planet will orbit. But you are the “crown” of his creation, so each experience gives you an opportunity to let his only born Son live through you. There are things to fix and to complete in the creation that only you can do. The office you work in or the work-bench awaiting you or the ward where you nurse or the floor you sweep or the house you clean all have things that are to be done in a certain way that our Creator’s Son can do only through you. Just as a great conductor misses the note of the smallest instrument – so the Creator sees and hears what you permit him to do through you. Alan Turing, one of the early computer geniuses who worked on decrypting the German code in the second world war, described his work like this: “in attempting to construct such machines we should not be irreverently usurping his power of creating souls, any more than we are in the procreation of children; rather we are, in either case, instruments of his will providing mansions for the souls that he creates.” Whether we build houses or make chairs, it is really our maker working through us to complete his creation.Â As you do it with care and thought, you can begin to feel the pleasure of God.Â Â He made your hand to hold that brush in just that way – with that degree of care and precision.Â As you do it, your body and mind become more like what He has in mind for you a thousand years further on in another place he has made.Â Â You also, as you do it with satisfaction and concentration, become more like him in his faithfulness and steadiness.Â Â All of this is at the base of the real purpose of your life – your fulfilment and happiness as the “darling child” he called you in the Bible. This is part of the real purpose of work, and our maker has assured us that “if we seek first his rule (or his plan) all other things will be added to us”.Â Â We won’t have to scrounge around for ourselves or make our work a slavery we suffer in order to get what we need in the way of clothes and food and shelter.Â Â We’ll be able to fulfill his plan for us and enjoy our lives as we achieve what he made us for.
Day 64: Work of Getting or Giving - default
Day 64: Living Daily in Reality: Work of Getting or Giving ========================================================== So you are here for the Creator’s son to complete his Father’s creation through you. In this process both you and the planet will yield to his will for them – even though it may only be completed in the cataclysm foreshadowed in Paul’s statement that the “world is crucified to me and I to the world”. This enigma is becoming more understandable as our quantum physicists point to the possibility of some kind of parallel universe where time and space are relative. The same truth was revealed in the Biblical letter to the Ephesians in 64 A.D. – “for we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Your work is not the slavish, unpleasant toil we have made it by our atheism – “in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread”. It is the glorious work that your Maker has given you to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it”. The way you multiply and are fruitful and fill the earth and subdue it will be different from everyone else because you are unique: you are here for your Maker’s son to be and do something that he is and does in no other human-being that has ever lived. All of us have sensed at times an intuitive urge which we usually attribute to something like conscience or heredity and most of us have experienced a strength that seems to come from somewhere other than ourselves, so the fact that our maker’s son is within us does not seem impossible. Moreover all of us have found that we face two strong urges if we see someone drowning – an urge to dive in and save – but also an urge not to risk our own lives. This is the meaning and purpose of our existence and the works we are given to do – either we let God’s Son live in us or we crucify him and become his enemy. Because of our self-centredness we easily misinterpret Christ’s spirit within us as our socially formed conscience or we see our desire to avoid danger as simply self-preservation, but our nature becomes increasingly warped out of shape until it is utterly carnal and dominated by the world around us. The enemy outside overcomes the friend inside so that we cannot do the good we want, but instead do what we do not want. The more we struggle to free ourselves, the more we sink in our own selfishness. Only our Maker’s son within us can free us by his activity! Broadly speaking, the works we face expose our dominant desire to get and offer us the chance to let Christ give. So our choice of a career exposes our desire to get and provides a chance to give. If we are practical atheists we are committed to providing the food, clothes and shelter which we’ll need in this life, so money is an important factor in our career plans. If we are practical theists we’ll be preoccupied with what we can give to the world. As we pursue our training and our career our nature becomes increasingly warped out of shape or becomes increasingly shaped by the spirit of our Creator within us – while our needs are met incidentally along with many of our wants. The results in our world are evident in times like the 2008 recession – bankers who are meant to keep people’s money safe and lend it to others at reasonable interest become preoccupied with getting more and more money along with investment bankers who are meant to finance businesses so that more jobs and incomes are created. So the development and subduing of the world that Christ in us is here to do doesn’t occur; instead, the world’s resources are diminished and stocked away unused by the few who accumulate them. Thus the acquisitive nature dominates families and nations so that greed and anxiety and frustration take hold of men’s hearts and minds. The result is a society and world that becomes increasingly comatose and moribund and lacks the lively activity of the Maker’s son and his brothers and sisters. It all starts or turns around with you and me.
Day 65: The Work of Filling the World - default
Day 65: Living Daily in Reality: The Work of Filling the World ============================================================== When you look out on a hillside filled with daffodils in the spring or a river with salmon leaping upstream or a sky full of flocks of birds, you’re filled with a sense of plenty and generous provision. It’s easy to think that someone or something has spilled gifts of life and beauty everywhere – this is what we’ve been saying – that our maker has built into the universe feelings of generosity and giving that is part of his plan for your life. You are here so that the creator’s son can give things through you that he has planned to give through no one else. You yourself don’t have that life, but you have exactly the right personality and abilities for your maker’s son to give them through you – that’s why you’re here! Like so many of us, you find that hard to believe; so you try to get things rather than give things. As you try to accumulate a little money and a few possessions to “keep the wolf from the door”, you struggle into a kind of frustrated self-preservation until some financial or physical disaster occurs and your whole house-of-cards collapses. Sometimes help seems to come from nowhere unexpectedly – or – especially when you lose someone in death – you tap a source of strength that you cannot explain. Often our creator’s son shows his hand in times of deprivation when we are at our wit’s end – and we begin to realize that there are powers and ways that we’ve never known before. In experiences like this when the world’s resources seem insufficient we are driven beyond ourselves and our own resourcefulness; we reach out in desperation and touch a life that comes direct from the divine person in whom we were created. So our maker has carefully planned our lives so that we stumble into situations that seem to have no answers or insufficient provisions; only thus can we be driven to see that we are inadequate in ourselves. Many of us are so dependent on ourselves or the world of things that we have to be driven beyond our own abilities: only then do we reach out in desperation for the life that Paul mentioned “I live – yet not I – but Christ lives within me”. It’s then – at times when everything seems hopeless – that our Creator’s Son makes us aware of Himself and fills us with his own sense of adequacy and life. This is the moment when we get up off the ground, dust ourselves off and rise into the new life that surrounds us all every moment – or we pretend it’s our own: then we have to go through it all again. This is why we’ve seen so many businesses and nations rise from apparent disaster and loss when there seemed no practical means of deliverance. Out of this kind of human extremity arises God’s opportunity to express the power of his Son within us. So you yourself see that the maker’s son “existed before all things and in him all things hold together”. The simple fact that we ourselves are tiny specks on a huge sphere spinning and orbiting through huge spaces all maintained by no visible power induces us to relax in full confidence of our maker supplying all our needs. So we begin to trust and depend on his giving us what we need while we pass on to the world all that it needs. Gradually we settle into the reality that the creator’s son within us produces all the energy and strength and wisdom that we need for him to do the works that he has done already and that he does indeed “work in us both to do and to will of his good pleasure” so that “he works and we work also”. This fills us with the confidence that enables us to understand his ways and to do his works that continue to fill the world and complete his creation in his way.
Day 66: Why Work? - default
Day 66: Living Daily in Reality: Why Work? ========================================== God made us free so that we could let his only Son develop the world through us, but we chose to ignore him and develop the world for ourselves.Â He knows there’s nothingness apart from him – and he knew we’d initially corrupt the human organism through misuse – so he remade you and me in a parallel universe.Â Â You can experience that fact by recognizing it and living accordingly – only the maker can remake the nature that we have perverted.Â So we all live as broken organisms in a broken organism, but both we and it have been remade by our maker in eternity outside time – as expressed in 29 A.D. by his Son’s crucifixion and resurrection.Â We can escape the present unreality of our world and ourselves by rejecting the one and accepting the other.Â Â You can decide to put your faith in your maker’s fulfillment of your abilities rather than your enjoyment of leisure to do what you want.Â The first leads paradoxically to enlargement while the second leads to shrinkage. That’s the choice you have as you think of your work – do you assume that there is no god that is personally interested in you or your security?Â Â Or do you assume that you have a loving Father who made you so that his Son can live in you and develop the world through you by your work?Â Â Â There must be some reason why there’s no one else in the whole world just like you – that’s what our latest DNA research is finding.Â Scientists now say that of the twenty thousand genes that run your whole being – .010% have never occurred in the same way as they do in you – not in any other person who has ever lived or is living today!Â Â You are actually unique – the maker has made no one else like you – which is what his son, Jesus Christ, implied when he said that â€œevery hair of your head is numberedâ€(cid:157).Â Â When our maker turned to his son and said â€œlet us make man in our imageâ€(cid:157), he knew that he would have to make billions of people like his son to express his own infinitely varied nature.Â Â So you are alive and different from everyone else so that our maker’s son can express through you some likeness of his father that none of the rest of us possess.Â Â Christ’s apostle, Paul put it like this – â€œwe are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works that God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in themâ€(cid:157).Â All the developments and rectifications of the world have been foreseen and effected by our Maker, but you are the only one he has willed to work the works that you alone can do – whether inventing the fastest computer or cleaning the bathroom floor.Â Work is not just using your mind to get what you need (our maker will take care of that).Â Work is using your mind to understand what particular repairs and improvements to the world God will carry out through you.Â In other words, God will â€œfill the earth and subdue itâ€(cid:157) through work that his son will do through you that he will not do through anyone else in just the same way!Â He gave you a mind so that you could understand his works and ways and be a co-worker with him to redeem the world and develop the universe. Two mighty operations are going on in this planet – one is the clear demonstration of what life is like without God – the world is deteriorating and declining in all kinds of ways; but the other operation is the uplifting and restraining work that our maker’s son has been given to do – and this work he can do only through your physical presence.Â Â So you are here so that Christ can do through you a work that he can do through no one else. We, of course, have perverted our natures by using our minds to manage and manipulate the world of things for our own personal benefit.Â Â Thus our minds become impaired and narrowed by self-interest and we are unable to see the expansive plans and strategies that our Creator has for us.Â From time to time He manifests this function of the mind in an Einstein or Newton, but his desire is that each one of us would use our minds to understand what particular work He has for us to do. When you wonder what you should do with your life, find out what things the son of God can do through you to fill the earth and bring it into the order and beauty God has in mind.Â Â The last thing you need to concern yourself with is your food and shelter, because God’s son has said â€œyour heavenly Father knows you need those thingsâ€(cid:157) and he feeds the birds and clothes the flowers!
Day 67: Why do we want to be a Celebrity? - default
Day 67: Living Daily in Reality: Why do we want to be a Celebrity? ================================================================== We’re talking about the human personality and the reason we ourselves have such difficulty doing what we think we should do. We’ve said that we were made by our maker as part of his only son so that we could enjoy his love and let his son develop this planet through us. But we have used our free will to ignore our Creator and depend on the things, people, and circumstances of the world to provide the security, significance, and happiness that only our Father-Creator’s love can give us. Many of us use Facebook and Twitter because we are interested in other people and want to keep in touch with our friends – and make new friends. But many of us carefully list the things we’re doing or the places we’re visiting because we want others to know that we exist and have interesting lives. Sometimes that’s all that our interest in social media means. But sometimes we feel it expresses that we’re important and that our existence matters. Indeed, at times we need the reassurance we get from our blogs because we realize there are about seven billion other people like us in the world – so it’s easy to feel you’re just a tiny blob of humanity that nobody really cares about. That’s why some of us will do anything to be on television where people can see us – and recognize that we exist. It’s very easy in this mass society to feel you’re a little zero that means nothing to anyone. We wish we could be a celebrity and think it would be wonderful to be in that position of admiration and popularity in so many people’s eyes. Indeed we feel we are different from others – in all kinds of ways that they don’t seem to notice, and this seems more and more likely as our genetic scientists come up with the details of our DNA which suggest that each of us is absolutely unique – there’s no one like you in the whole world – and there never has been. Even though we find this hard to believe yet we do feel we’re different – we do have a sense that no one else has felt just the same feelings as we have. And, of course, this is all true. Our maker’s son – Jesus of Nazareth – likened his Father to a good shepherd that knows each of his sheep by name and has counted all the hairs of our heads. So it is no wonder that we feel we’re different or important or significant – especially when it’s evident that our Maker regarded each of us as dear as his only Son. This readiness to put us before his only Son by allowing our predecessors to actually kill him heightens our sense of his estimate of our value in his eyes – and there is no other opinion of us that matters. So we are born with a real sense of our own value in the eyes of some significant other, and we never lose that sense of personal value. It is impossible to find a substitute for the love of our Creator – there is just no other being who can give us that sense of significance or importance, especially when you know He made you different from everyone else so that he could express through you part of himself that no one else expressed. This results in that strong sense of significance that each one of us has that can never be fully satisfied by the recognition or approval of mere human beings. Although it would find itself perfectly at peace in submitting to the one that made it, it cannot bear to submit willingly to any other power, but always searches for a way to assert itself and gain the attention that it thinks it deserves. So we find ourselves with a will that insists on asserting itself and its rights at every opportunity. The will is the pivot-point of the whole personality and is free only while it is constrained by a conscience in active relationship with its maker: otherwise it loses its executive power and becomes a slave to the outside world. Its fulfillment is found in directing our personality in accordance with our conscience which reads God’s purposes for each of us.
Day 68: The Purpose of Your Life - default
Day 68: Living Daily in Reality: The Purpose of Your Life ========================================================= Our maker made us part of his only Son to develop the world and our natures by his son’s uncreated life, but he foreknew we would choose first to do it for ourselves by our own created life – and that he in his son would have to bear the results.Â Only thus could he justly remake us and our world in a parallel universe outside time so that we are really free to choose inside time between his creation and ours.Â Â In the year 58, Paul, a follower of our Creator’s Son wrote that this man â€œis the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created.Â He is before all things and in him all things hold together.Â For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, making peace by the blood of his crossâ€(cid:157) which he continues to bear each time we kill or are angry, or deceive or hate. The purpose then of our lives is to let our maker’s son fill and subdue the world through us – with the loving care of a son for something his father has made.Â You can see in this diagram that the vital connection between his son’s Spirit within us and our psychological life is the will. If we believe that our maker’s son is within us, then we will endeavor to know what he wishes to do through us, and this conscience will constrain our wills to fulfill that intuition.Â So the will is the pivot-point that is only really free when it acquiesces in our creator’s planned purpose for our lives. Â He has made it clear – through his readiness to suffer the worst we can do to him in his son – that he wants to preserve our free will, yet loves us too much to let us throw our lives away.Â Â So in a real sense he alone has shown that he can be trusted with our wills.Â As a result our will is at ease when it submits to the one significant other in the universe.Â Otherwise, our wills lose their balance and freedom and become either assertive or passive. As we begin to believe that the son of our Creator is in us and that we are part of him, our hands and minds are intended to do what this loving son plans, so they need to be guided by a will that submits enthusiastically to the one in whom it was made.Â Conscience then is our gyro-compass as it always urges us to the highest that we know – and, if we are willing, can lift us higher than our impaired minds may understand.Â But as we exercise our minds to understand the intuitions that our maker’s son expresses, so our consciences urge us to exercise our wills in harmony with our maker’s wishes.Â So cleaning up the excretions of a drunkard on a beautiful carpet receives the same â€œwell done, good and faithful servantâ€(cid:157) as Handel when he completes the â€œHallelujahâ€(cid:157) chorus.Â Our maker sees the same loving care for his creation – and recognizes the touch of his Son. Â We’re here on this planet to let our maker’s son develop the world through us so that we can experience what he is really like.Â This diagram shows how our wills would submit to our consciences and be able to direct our minds (as shown by the green arrows) to understand the intuitions that we receive from our communion with our maker.Â But instead, we’ve rejected the reality of a creator who is our loving Father – and have developed wills that passively submit to our need for security or compulsively assert the significance that only the one significant other in the universe can give us.Â Thus the will becomes enslaved to either people or things and we become dominated by one or the other.Â This kind of living is a parody of the dignified, restrained and tranquil life we have been made for, so let us begin to understand the life that is lived in reality.
Day 69: Between Two Worlds - default
Day 69: Living Daily in Reality: Between Two Worlds =================================================== Our Maker designed each of us to express a unique part of himself through his only Son to whom he has entrusted the completion of his creation.Â Our willingness to let his son express himself through us will determine what our world is like and whom we are like.Â He has foreseen both of these outcomes, and Christ has borne the corruption of the world and our nature along with their redemption outside time in eternity.Â In this present time we are therefore between two worlds – in us and around us is the nature and the world which we have corrupted, while ahead of us in a parallel universe is our new nature and world graciously re-created by our Maker in his son’s death and resurrection. Â In this life, you are living either in the reality of our corrupted nature and world or you are living in the reality of our new nature and world that our Maker has already remade outside time.Â Who determines which nature and world you are living in?Â You do – you throw the switch – then the cosmic death and resurrection expressed at Calvary actualize here in your life! Just as even our crude high-frequency trading computers can analyze in a milli-second hundreds of buys and sells and send hundreds of alternative offers to the stock exchange, so our Maker can in a millisecond arrange thousands of events which protect the exercise of your free will yet move everything a step nearer his own plan.Â But you alone determine how long you spend crucifying or exalting your Maker. Â While you are in this world as part of the Creator’s son you are therefore either letting the spirit of his life shape your nature and the world or you’re succumbing to your nature to exploit the world.Â The uncreated spirit of his son applies the eternal work of real change wrought by the Maker himself in his son’s death, whereas our nature applies a temporary band-aid; the first deals with the actual corruption whereas the second deals with the symptoms.Â The first forms Christ within more fully, the second tries to imitate his nature. Both require human action but one is based on the final renewal of the world wrought by God in Christ’s resurrection while the second is based on man’s own attempts to save the world.Â The first is initiated by Christ within, the second by man’s best thoughts – your will is the pivotal-point for both.Â Â Moses tried to free the Israelites by killing the slave-driver; then he freed them by the effect of the plagues wrought in Christ’s resurrection in eternity.Â Later he had to stretch his staff over the Jordan, but it was Christ’s supra-time power over the world of nature that divided the waters. So in our twenty-first century we will continue to see the deterioration of our human nature and our world repeatedly exposed as abnormal and unintended by the creator.Â Â But alongside the encroaching chaos there will persist the counteracting effects of the uncreated spirit of the maker’s son in things like the bacteria-killing penicillin discovered in fungus, the power of non-violent resistance in Mandela and Gandhi, and the built-in capacity of an angry man to be calmed by a soft answer. As we begin to apply reality to the diverse ways in which our world seems to be going wrong, let us see how this real power of our Maker’s uncreated life in his son can work through us.Â Â As we do that we may find there are two ways to â€œleave the world a better placeâ€(cid:157)…Â Â Â But more importantly, you may find why your Creator has made you so different from the rest of us – and you may grow up into the fullness of Christ.
Day 70: The Exchanged Life - default
Day 70: Living Daily in Reality: The Exchanged Life =================================================== So the world is exactly like it was not meant to be, and our Maker has permitted this so that we would have a clear choice.Â This meant the capacity to love because we had the freedom not to love.Â The reason his only son appeared as the human Jesus in the first century was so that we would see clearly that the world we have created is something that brings great pain to him.Â It is evident that either it has to change or we have to change. This is why our maker designed you different from all the rest of us – so that his son could complete the world through you as you lived inside-out, but we all have lived outside-in – that is – as practical atheists who have no maker and need to get security and significance and happiness from the world.Â We can never get enough of this from people and things and experiences to satisfy our need for the love of our maker, so our very nature has become perverted and needs to be remade.Â This is the meaning of that old Biblical clause â€œthe wages of sin is deathâ€(cid:157) – sin is living as if there’s no God – and practical atheism so perverts human nature that it requires radical destruction and re-creation by God’s power so that it can operate the way it was originally intended. Our maker has done all this in what our physicists call a parallel universe – or eternity – above time and space as we know them, so we now can experience our creator’s son living in us and through us — beginning to fill the world instead of emptying it for ourselves, subduing it instead of being subdued by it and using it rather than abusing it. This is called the â€œexchanged lifeâ€(cid:157) – described by Paul in the Bible when he said, â€œthis life I live – yet not I – but Christ lives within meâ€(cid:157).Â It is â€œChrist in you – the hope of gloryâ€(cid:157) – you as a permanent resident of the eternal life for which we were made, no longer living in fear that you won’t get what you need, but preoccupied with what your creator’s son wants to do or say through you.Â You know that you were made part of him and that you share the benefits of his ability to use the sub-atomic particles to modify even matter to develop the world in ways that accord with the Creator’s will.Â From time to time these seemingly supernatural powers will be manifested in the interim years before eventually the whole world will have to experience the renewal that already exists in a parallel universe. But such powers of Christ’s uncreated life can only be manifested where we have exchanged our life for His.Â This requires the projection of ourselves outside ourselves – a total acceptance that we were destroyed with him in His death – and that his will alone counts in our everyday life.Â It means â€œnot I, but Christâ€(cid:157) – only then can his Spirit live through us the life for which we were made. This means that we no longer live from the outside-in, as in this little diagram, but we live from the inside-out – from the heart and thoughts of our creator’s son within us – expressing his thoughts and his heart and what he wants.Â Â It means stopping our looking to the things and circumstances and people around us for our security and happiness and sense of significance – but instead trusting our Father’s faithfulness, enjoying the gifts he has provided all around us and pleasing him and wanting his favor above man’s. This changes the way our minds work: they concentrate on understanding how our maker’s plans will work out and affect the world, our emotions will enjoy his company and using the powers he has given us, while our wills direct firmly our life’s actions and feelings.Â All of this is motivated by a real oneness we sense with our God – and a preoccupation with what He is thinking and wants.Â We enjoy walking through the world with the owner beside us as he explains what his ideas and plans are.Â Let’s do just that during these next thirty segments – let’s look at some of the ways our Maker might guide us in the challenges and problems that our world faces.
Day 71: Renewing the Earth - default
Day 71: Living Daily in Reality: Renewing the Earth =================================================== Our world consists of billions of spinning particles so small that only our physicists can detect or hypothesize them. They are controlled by our Maker’s Spirit in his only Son, Jesus Christ; they express the results of our acquiescence or rejection of our Creator’s will. He has permitted us to desecrate their harmony so that we can see in the resulting world the nothingness that exists apart from him. Meanwhile he has recreated the world and us outside time in another part of his universe – so that through this cosmic miracle we can eventually come to accept his will for his only Son in us. We appear to be quite far on in this process as our world tips towards chaos. However our Maker so â€œlongs for the creature he has madeâ€(cid:157) (Job 14:15) that, despite the pain he feels with each egocentric move you and I make, he restrains this world’s disintegration as much as is consistent with our willing conformity to him. However long we hold out and he suffers, his steadfast love for us in this regard never ceases and his mercies do not come to an end. So although we all observe and take part in developing the earth’s resources and civilizing its peoples outwardly, another deeper renewing of our hearts is beginning by the work of our Creator’s Son’s uncreated life in us. This is the renewing of the earth that will complete the work begun when His Son was given us and our world before time began. Although in this present era this inner work seems secondary, it is in fact the primary work – because the reason we were given the task of developing this planet was precisely so that our heart for it would be the same as God’s! So as we begin now to look at the way an inside-out personality affects our present world we are really looking at the way our hearts become like our Maker’s. The reason we glimpse such apparent delight in the seagulls as they soar or our little dog as he feels the wind in his coat-hairs is the sheer joy of God’s heart. Throughout the universe darkness is constantly dispelled by the joy of the Creator as he pours forth his own life and heart. This is the fresh life that will totally renew the earth so that it is able to rise with its sons and daughters into the harmony of God’s joyful universe. Let us start now to see the ways this miracle of uncreated life transforms our present world, makes the earth a better place to live in, and prepares it and us for the final work that only God himself can complete when the earth – as we know it – ends. Although the outward calamities like the bizarre shootings and tortures and rapes are themselves horrendous and savage in their effects, the hardness and cruelty they infuse into all our hearts is even more destructive. So everywhere in our present world there is developing a heart that is less and less like our Maker’s and yet is increasingly oblivious to its dehumanizing effect. This is the more serious deterioration to be stopped and turned around – if the present world is to avoid a premature end. It is our great privilege that we are no longer enslaved to sin by corrupt personalities driven by the world’s inadequate substitutes but are willing bond-servants of a dear Father who has made everything in this broken world right. We live now in the joy of this rightness and through that perception and faith we express the confident power and joy of his only Son, so that our Father manifests here in time the world that he has renewed in eternity. That wonderful rearrangement of the billions of particles that make up the present state of the matter in the world is part of the ways and works of God by which he continually adjusts our present world and us in their progress towards the righteousness he has created. As we have increasingly the mind that is in Christ, the creator’s son, so our heart becomes one with God’s and his ability to rearrange the particles of matter in the loaves and fishes — and expresses itself in us as we begin to mould the world by his power.
Day 72: You are a Unique Variation of our Creator - default
Day 72: Living Daily in Reality: You are a Unique Variation of our Creator ========================================================================== Our Maker made us in his image so that He could express all his glorious richness, and we could enjoy it firsthand.Â So you express part of Him that no one else can.Â That’s why you’re here – to mould his world in ways that no one else can by his power.Â You’re not here to die like a dog – and never be seen again.Â You’re here to live forever, but only your Maker can make that a delight and joy for you – and all of us.Â You yourself would make it hell!Â So God has put you in this world – which we have distorted by trying to get from it what we can get only from Him – so that we’ll choose to reject that self-centered life and allow his unself-centered life to fill us.Â Only then will we begin to use the world and stop abusing it – only then will we really be able to subdue it to his will instead of being subdued by its will. So we are here to be like God – through living in his Son in whom we have been made.Â This transforms the state of marriage and home-life – which both exist to reveal in us God in whose image we have been made.Â Today we think they exist for our benefit so that we will be satisfied but they exist so that we will lose our life (like God) and find it!Â Just as He Himself produces others like Him through his forbearance and readiness to be crucified, so we produce others like Him when we do the same. When marriage is unselfish it succeeds – when it’s selfish, it fails.Â How often do you give in?Â Until the other person starts giving in, too.Â How often do you let the other person have their way?Â Until they start wanting you to have your way.Â How long has God let you do what you want?Â As long as you want!Â Such a marriage will never work, we say!Â But it’s the only way it will work!Â Such forbearance and love will never survive, we say!Â But Christ has done quite well – and God is still in his heaven!Â Such a ridiculous pacifism would destroy communities and nations!Â But we’re talking about individuals and their attitudes to each other not the restraining of forces created by many wills acting together – only the laws of God can defend us against that.Â But only the grace of love can express our Creator in you. This then is the goal and purpose of our existence – to eventually agree to our Maker’s Son expressing himself in us personally.Â How long will God keep giving us such an opportunity?Â As long as it takes!Â His only Son, Jesus once stated clearly how often one should forgive – â€œseventy times sevenâ€(cid:157) – or as long as his Father’s â€œsteadfast love that never ceases and his grace that never comes to an endâ€(cid:157).Â Could that take life even beyond physical death?Â Of course!Â Certainly God stated through his son that â€œthere will be no murderers or adulterers in heavenâ€(cid:157), so the implication is that the ideal world will be possible only when it is filled with people in the image of God Himself – but Jesus said that â€œin God’s house are many mansionsâ€(cid:157) so that even if other parallel worlds are required, the Creator will forbear until each of us finally enters into the reality he has created for us in his risen Son.
Day 73: Christ in You – the Hope of glory - default
Day 73: Living Daily in Reality: Christ in You – The Hope of Glory =========================================== The completion of our Maker’s Son is the purpose of your life.Â Each of us has a whole way of thinking that we inherit from our parents – a suit of clothing that we put on as humans.Â We get our security from the things we have, our significance from people’s opinion of us, and our happiness from our circumstances; so this limited world of things, people and circumstances is the world we think about most often. Even the cyber-world of computers is usually just a mirror of this world so we are short-sighted in our view of life – it’s tied mostly to this present life on earth. However, as we hear more these days about our space probes and light-years we are beginning to think of the possibilities of life beyond this present existence. This is taking on a more serious aspect now that our theoretical physicists suggest that there may be parallel universes – and that we may grow older faster or slower as we travel elsewhere in space! You may remember that statement of Jesus when he said, â€œBefore Abraham was, I amâ€¦.your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad…â€(cid:157) (John 5:56-58). This is the world that opens up for us as we begin to take seriously the implications of our real relationship to the mysterious human being, Jesus who is described so naturally as the only son who lived with his Father, our creator outside time. Paul defined Him like this in his letter to the people in Colossae – Col.1:15â€¦.â€(cid:157)He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold togetherâ€(cid:157). Here almost two thousand years before Einstein showed mathematically – and astro-physicists demonstrated scientifically – that time was relative to where you were in space, an ordinary well-known historical figure spoke from a viewpoint above both past and present. Acknowledged by the Roman emperor as the only son of our creator and respected since as the only Son of God, this man astounds us all by saying also that you and I were made in Him and He is now in us! But far more than that – he implied what studies in the human genome prove today – that each of us is different from everyone else that has ever been or now is on this planet when he said that each hair on our heads is numbered. When Peter asked him what would happen in John’s life, Jesus implied that he had a different plan for the life he would live in him by saying â€œwhat is that to you, you just follow me!â€(cid:157) Why is your DNA different from every other one? Because our creator is so complex and diverse that he needs each one of us to express himself fully in all the richness of his heart and life.Â In other words, you are a unique expression of our Creator – he shows part of himself in you that he shows in no one else in just the same way! This is God’s truth. This reality appeals to our own common-sense: why would the creator make every one of us different from each other? Just because he enjoyed diversity? Or because he made us in his image – so rich and infinite that he can only begin to be revealed in the lives of billions of human beings like ourselves. His only Son has planned to show in you a side of his Father that will not be seen in the same way in any other person. This is why Paul wrote that â€œall things work together for good â€¦..that we might be conformed to the image of his Son.â€(cid:157) Your experience is unique and no one else has been exactly where you have been or seen exactly what you have seen. If you are not what you were created to be, the Creator will not be seen in all his richness and beauty. Just as the great British conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent, noticed when the little triangle player missed his note at the crescendo of a Beethoven symphony, so the Creator cares that you will play your full part in this life!
Day 74: The Fulness of Stature – The Hope of Glory - default
Day 74: Living Daily in Reality: The Fullness of Stature – The Hope of Glory =================================================== The infinite creator conceived and created everything in a millisecond: he conceived of children like his only son who wanted to return his love.Â But he knew that love is only possible for beings who are free not to love.Â This meant creating and bearing in his own son in eternity all that he himself is not and then remaking it – this is the meaning of the crucifixion.Â All humanity exists inside Christ who has borne the effects of every choice of ungodliness possible – with the result that we all see clearly our choice – God or not God?Â Our present world displays temporarily some of that life without God – Christ displays life with God, our father! You were created in Christ (Colossians 1:16) and you are alive now to grow up into the fullness of his stature as he is fully formed in you (Galatians 4:19). So part of our present life is Christ living in you and me as honestly and truthfully as he lived in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.Â Although he did not act directly to change the social and political injustices of his age, he did express the pain that his own spirit experienced in the light of their lack of love and wisdom.Â He mirrored the beatitudes that he described in his sermon on the mount because they expressed absolute faith that our Father had changed and rectified the wrongs in eternity so that we could trust his manifesting the rectification appropriately in time.Â So slavery and military domination and persecution had all been rectified by God before the world was created but their actualization in this temporary society would take place in God’s perfect time and way.Â Meanwhile, however, Christ felt and expressed the pain of his Father’s spirit in his own attitude: so with each of us as we experience and express the heart of God in our present age.Â This integrity in our response and restraint in our human action is part of the fullness of his stature into which we constantly grow in this present life on earth.Â So we feel the sympathy expressed by Christ for Mary Magdalene and his pain at the hypocrisy of those willing to cast the first stone when we see the same lack of sympathy for the pregnant teenager or harshness in those who condemn her. So we sense the same fear of impending doom when we see the inevitable decline of our present economy because of the self-destructive influence of the rich on our tax policies.Â As passive income is favored over earned income and the gap between rich and poor increases between the top .1% and the other 99.9%, so our economy puts four times more of its income into passive capital.Â We feel the same concern for our poor and under-privileged citizens when we see the power of special-interest groups to manipulate our elected representatives rather than encourage the exercise of their free judgments.Â We express Christ’s attitude that respected those in authority over us because they are not a terror to good conduct but to bad. Just as Paul exercised his political responsibility to appeal to Caesar so we exercise our responsibility to elect our representatives and encourage them to exercise their free judgments regarding all our welfare.Â At the same time we refrain from any activity that would influence them to benefit us at the expense of our neighbors because our trust is in the free elections that God has permitted and will use for the common good.Â So we are blessed by God as the meek or gentle who will inherit the earth by his action as we pray for those in authority so that we are quietly governed — but our faith is in God’s maintenance of the structure rather than in our taking it out of the hands he is using.Â So we live Christ’s ascended life at God’s right hand together with this present life where we continue to learn his obedience through suffering the chastening and conforming effects of our godless environment. Thus Christ in each of us begins to be fully formed as he develops the world through his faith in the rectification of the world that has been accomplished by his death and resurrection.Â At the same time we experience the conformity to his image which is accomplished through the exercise of his faith as we face the chastening effects of the fallen world’s godless deterioration and hostility.Â So in this life we share in the development of the earth planned by our Father and we also benefit from facing its unlikeness to its creator.
The Exchanged Life by Ernest O’Neill - default
Day 75: Living Daily in Reality: A Family of Loving Individuals ====================================== Our Maker loves his only Son – whom we know as the human-being called Jesus of Nazareth in Palestine in the first century. They live in perfect harmony outside time and want us to live with them and love them and be like them. But we can love only if we are free not to love, so our Maker has made us in his son so that we are free to let him develop the earth for his father through us or we are free to develop it for ourselves. But he knew that this could be real only if we were free to see what life was like without him, so he made it possible for us to ignore his son within us and develop the world by powers and methods that are opposite to his. But since there is no existence outside God, even our temporal disasters can only occur inside his Son’s participation in us while their eternal transformation has to occur outside time in his Son’s oneness with His father. Thus each one of us can exert our own free will and degrade the world or we can exert Christ’s will and develop the universe. In either case we are enabled by our creator’s steadfast love which never ceases and his mercies that never come to an end but are new every morning? Our maker is committed to letting us have our way until we finally allow him to have his way. His continual love and providence express an eternal life that has power to change and transform. Often we do things that should cause us intense pain or disaster but we escape both by some magical intervention while at other times our success seems far beyond what our effort justifies. In both cases there seems to be some providential over-drive that supplements the action of our wills. That’s of course, exactly what is happening. Our maker knows precisely what he has made – he knows you and me intimately along with the details of all the events and actions we will engage in. He also knows what actions we will take and what will strengthen our freedom and what will restrict it – what will dictate our decisions and what will liberate them! He works continuously to apply the benefits of the eternal, renewed world to our temporal, fallen world as our wills freely express his son? will. Throughout all this complex syncretism (as he works and we work also) his own will for hearts like his Son’s carefully preserves our real freedom as we retain the power to work out our own salvation even though we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them? The creator’s commitment to the freedom of our wills is expressed forever in letting the human race crucify his only son. One who exercises his will in that instance cannot be doubted in his respect for each of our wills. So despite all God’s undoubted ability to foresee and modify circumstances, we can be certain that he wants above all else to have sons and daughters who can love him freely as his own son does: it is not his will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.