Grafted into Jesus…the True Vine!

“Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Wow! To have the mind of Christ! Because I live in a fallen world, ONLY in OBEDIENCE will I realize the power that is in this promise!

The simple truth is, once we have received Christ by inviting Him to be our personal Lord and Savior, the enemy is instantly defeated! We were grafted into Christ! His Spirit lives within us! His mindset is available as our source to confront the battles of everyday life!

The enemy hates those that God has received. His anger rages at the thought of the power that has been gifted to us by our Heavenly Father….the power to have HIS Son’s mindset, the power to be transformed from the inside out; the power to walk, talk and be like Christ.  But we know, that as long as we live in this fallen world, the spiritual battles will wage on. Romans 7:21-25 says:  “ I have discovered this principle of life-that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank GOD! The answer is Jesus Christ our Lord! So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

So how do we persevere? How can we live a life worthy to be called Christian? How can we press on when things around us seem so hard, or sometimes just don’t make sense? It’s a battlefield of the mind to be sure. So what are we to do? Romans 8 continues:  “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ. And because you belong to him, the POWER of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death!” To this I say, HALLELUJAH! Did you hear that! HIS POWER! To abide in Christ is to be free indeed!

“The mind of Christ is positive. So when we fall to be negative about something, we should instantly discern that we are not operating with the mind of Christ. Christ wants us to be lifted up. It’s the enemy of our soul who wants us pressed down—depressed. We have many opportunities to think negative thoughts, but that’s not the mind of Christ at work in us. We don’t have to accept those thoughts. They are not ours!” (J.Meyers).

So as your day begins, and if you are bombarded with the obstacles that satan will surely throw your way, remember this: you are GRAFTED to Jesus Christ! Use HIS power…use HIS mindset…use HIS WORD that is part of our armor to defend and defeat! 2 Corinthians says it like this: “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”  I love the MESSAGE translation of this verse:  “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.”

“Papa God, you know the challenges we will face today. You know the war that will wage within. And that is why even now Father, we call on the power of your Holy Spirit that lives within us, in the name of the ONE who made it possible, CHRIST JESUS! Thank you Father that you have defeated the enemy at the cross, by sending your Son to die for our sins! You gifted us with HIS power, HIS mindset, HIS perspective! Help us tap into your source every waking moment so that we can run this race in life in stride with your strength. Help us to realize the potential that YOU see in us! In JESUS precious name I ask this – Amen!”  IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

4 Keys to Fighting Like a True Christian…(Part 2)


3. How will I feel about this lively discussion tomorrow?

Most of us have spewed hot and hurtful words in the heat of the battle that we later regretted. Sometimes it’s not until the next day that the regrets set in; sometimes it’s immediately.

Children act on impulse. If they feel like doing or saying something, that’s what they do. In the heat of the moment, we are being childish when we do or say something simply because we “feel like it.” It’s an easy way to live—in the short run—and it feels good, for a minute. But it’s destructive. And it’s immature.

“Winning” an argument with your mate is a “Pyrric Victory.” It’s a victory that ultimately ends up in defeat. In the heat of the moment, it is often wise to step away from the conflict…momentarily. Possibly for a couple of minutes…or perhaps a few hours. Whenever we are feeling so emotionally turbulent that we are unable to listen, chances are that continuing the skirmish will only lead us down a path we will regret tomorrow.

We need to recognize those times when we need “spaces in our togetherness.” And when we speak, we need to speak the truth in love. Our words should be full of grace, lightly seasoned with salt.

And we need to move closer to God, asking Him to search our heart, and to guide us through the emotional storm…in His timing.

4. How can I, as a fully devoted follower of Christ, honor Him in this situation?

Much of what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount is counter-intuitive. It makes no sense to us to turn the other cheek to a bully, and it makes no sense when someone rips us off to offer him more than he’s already taken. And it’s counter-intuitive to love our enemies (the ones we’ve offered driving instructions, for instance).

But then again, it makes no sense that someone would take the punishment we deserve, and die on a blood-drenched cross so that we could be set free from the penalty of our sin. If we lived by what makes sense to us—from our flesh-stained perspective—we would live as the world lives. We would live to defend “our rights.” But that’s a problem, because we have been crucified with Christ. That means our rights have been put to death. (Granted, our rights tend to die a slow death.)

So what do we have left if we’ve surrendered our rights? It’s a great question! We have the infilling work of the Holy Spirit within us as He equips us and empowers us to live in a way that brings glory to the Father. We’re left with eternal purpose…and with peace that boggles human understanding. And if we’re married, we’re left with a marriage that honors one another, and our heavenly Father.

4 Keys to Fighting Like a True Christian… (Part 1)

Life sometimes seems like a battleground, littered with emotional minefields. What if we used the explosive events as opportunities to learn to fight like a true Christian? Try asking these 4 questions the next time someone trips your wire:

1. How important is this issue in the “Grand Scheme” of things?

We’ve heard that it’s wise to pick our battles. Sometimes it’s wiser not to battle at all.

True, we need to have things in our life that are important enough to promote and defend, but these things rarely have anything to do with us. They have to do with the kingdom of God…and with others.

For instance, a husband is to think of his wife more highly than he thinks of himself. A wife is to think the same way about her husband. Husbands and wives are supposed to defend each other–not themselves. We as men are out of bounds when we place our needs ahead of our wife’s needs.

And as fully devoted followers of Christ, we are servants. Servants do not live according to their own agenda. As servants, we are agents of our master, living in obedience to His will, and to His agenda.

In the grand scheme of things, our purpose in life is to become the person God designed us to be. We are designed to live life grafted into the Vine. Our response to the inconveniences and the aggravations of life should be His response. And what was Jesus’ response? He always did and said whatever His Father told Him to do or say. He lived in obedience to His Father. When Jesus is in us, and flowing through us, our response should be His response.

2. Why do I have such a “lively” emotional response?

Throughout our life, we have developed beliefs about how the world should work. Our beliefs drive our emotional response to the things happening around us. For instance, if we believe we have a right to an unobstructed traffic lane, we will be annoyed when someone is such an idiot to think he has a right to our lane. We might even be inclined to offer him (or her) driving lessons.

Or if we believe our way of doing things is the “right way” of doing things—not to mention the “only way,” anyone who has a different opinion is woefully wrong wrong wrong. And they need to be corrected—by us.

And our emotional response is driven by our unresolved pain of the past. If we men were controlled by our mother, and we felt minimized or degraded by her, we will lash out at our wife whenever it feels to us as though she is trying to control our life. If a young girl felt abandoned–or belittled–by her father, her default mode under pressure will be to feel abandoned and belittled by her husband.

We are responsible for our emotional response, regardless of whatever has happened in our past. This seems harsh to someone who has been the victim of evil. But it’s true. And the truth will set us free, but first it makes us mad.

In order to take responsibility for our response, we need to stop “blaming the world” for being such a hostile place. We need to release ourself from the pain of the past by forgiving those who have hurt or disappointed us.

And we need to align our beliefs with God’s Truth.

Continued tomorrow…

Is God a “Crutch?”

Possibly you’ve heard someone say that Christians use God as a “crutch” for their insecurity. How should we respond to such a derogatory accusation? After all, it makes us sound weak, right?

As we know, the Bible is full of paradoxes. God’s truth is often the opposite of what “seems” right to us. For instance, it seems to us that if we want to experience a great life we should cling to our life…for dear life. But Jesus told us that we will experience abundant life when we “die to ourselves” and take up our cross of self-sacrifice, and follow Him.

And there is also a paradoxical truth about “strength.”

I’ve noticed that the more Christians mature in their faith, the more “dependent” they become on God. Again, it seems as though the more a person matures, the more “self” confidence he or she would have. But that’s not the way it works. The more we grow in knowledge and wisdom…and humility, the more we recognize the greatness of God. And the more we recognize how utterly lost we are apart from Him. Jesus proclaimed, rather matter of factly, that apart from Him, we can do nothing. That comment offends some people, because it makes us seem needy and weak… “dependent” on Him.

And then we remember that He holds our breath in His hand. We remember that He is the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb, and He is the one who has ordered the days of our lives. And we remember that we have an appointment with Him when we die. At this meeting, every knee will bow, whether or not the knee bowed here on earth.

Believing that we can do life on our own…apart from God…is like whistling in the dark. We have engaged in myriad distractions—activities that numb us to the reality of our need for God. But when we lay down our fears and our arrogance, and surrender ourselves to the love of God (sounds funny doesn’t it… “surrendering” ourselves to God’s love!), something within us wonders why it took us so long. After all, that’s when we come home to our Father, and that’s when we begin to find peace, and we begin to experience meaning and purpose in life.

And we find rest. Something Pete Nelson said several years ago in a message he gave at Calvary in Albuquerque has always stuck in my mind… “God is not our crutch. He is our stretcher.”

So when someone accuses you of using God as a crutch, you can honestly tell them that’s not true. God is our Stretcher, having rescued us from the penalty of sin and the sting of death. He is the Source of our Life, and it is in Him we find rest for our soul.

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” ~2 Corinthians 13.14

The “Nonsense” of Forgiveness…

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that forgiveness is nonsense?

Forgiveness goes against our human nature. It seems counterintuitive…running against the grain of the way life should work…from our perspective.

I read an article called How to Forgive, by Jack Lavada, that made a lot of sense to me, so I’d like to pass it along. Here’s what Jack wrote…

There is a secret to successfully living the Christian life. And that same secret applies when we’re struggling with how to forgive.

Understanding Our Worth

We are all wounded. We are all inadequate. On our best days, our self-esteem hovers somewhere between feeble and fragile. All it takes is disapproval—or perceived disapproval—to send us staggering. These attacks bother us because we forget who we really are.

As believers, you and I are forgiven children of God. We have been lovingly adopted into his royal family as his sons and daughters. Our true worth comes from our relationship to him, not from our appearance, our performance or our net worth. When we remember that truth, criticism bounces off us like BBs ricocheting off a rhino. The trouble is that we forget.

We seek others’ approval. When they reject us instead, it hurts. By taking our eyes off God and his acceptance and putting them on the conditional acceptance of our boss, spouse, or friend, we set ourselves up to be hurt. We forget that other people are incapable of unconditional love.

Understanding Others

Even when other people’s criticism is valid, it’s still hard to take. It reminds us that we have failed in some way. We didn’t measure up to their expectations, and often when they remind us of that, tact is low on their priority list.

Sometimes our critics have ulterior motives. An old proverb from India goes, “Some men try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others.” They try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. You have probably had the experience of being put down by a nasty remark. When that happens, it is easy to forget that others are broken just like us.

Jesus understood the brokenness of the human condition. No one knows the human heart like him. He forgave tax collectors and prostitutes, and forgave his best friend Peter, for betraying him. On the cross, he even forgave the people who killed him. He knows that humans—all humans—are weak.

For us, though, it usually doesn’t help to know that those who have hurt us are weak. All we know is that we were injured and we can’t seem to get over it. Jesus’ command in the Lord’s Prayer seems too hard to obey: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Mark 6:12, NIV)

Understanding the Trinity’s Role

When we have been hurt, our instinct is to hurt back. We want to make the other person pay for what they did. But exacting revenge steps over the line into God’s territory, as Paul warned,

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” ~ Romans 12:19, NIV

If we cannot take revenge, then we must forgive. God commands it. But how? How can we let it go when we have been unjustly hurt?

The answer lies in understanding the Trinity’s role in forgiveness. Christ’s role was to die for our sins. God teh Father’s role was to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and forgive us. Today, the Holy Spirit’s role is to enable us to do those things in the Christian life we cannot do on our own, namely forgive others because God has forgiven us.

Refusing to forgive leaves an open wound in our soul that festers into bitterness, resentment, and depression. For our own good, and the good of the person who hurt us, we simply must forgive. Just as we trust God for our salvation, we have to trust him to make things right when we forgive. He will heal our wound so we can move on.

In his book, Landmines in the Path of the Believer, Charles Stanley says:

“We are to forgive so that we may enjoy God’s goodness without feeling the weight of anger burning deep within our hearts. Forgiveness does not mean we recant the fact that what happened to us was wrong. Instead, we roll our burdens onto the Lord and allow Him to carry them for us.

Rolling our burdens onto the Lord—that’s the secret of the Christian life, and the secret of how to forgive. Trusting God. Depending on him instead of ourselves. It’s a hard thing but not a complicated thing. It’s the only way we can truly forgive.”

(Adapted from

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