Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Matter of Perception is based on John Parker's Message at C4 on April 10, 2011

Yesterday felt like something true.

I'm aware of how strange of a statement that is. What i mean is that i tend to spend far too much of my time listening to the world and everything and everyone in it, and barely any time at all listening to God. I buy into society's image of beauty and success that tells me that I'm not alive if I'm not in love, that only personal gain is worth pursuing, that i don't have the right skin tone or body type or hair color. I've listened to the lie that says I'm not worth the support of a community and that I just need to keep quiet about the things that hurts me and haunts me and steal my sleep. I've listened to the lie that says I'm beyond help.
And those are a lot of lies to be listening to day after day.
I heard somebody once say that if you tell a lie big enough, loudly enough, and often enough, then it ceases to be a lie; and it's a fact of the human conscience that if we hear something often enough, we internalize and believe it completely.
Lies are like that. They're dangerous because they're subtle and they sink in and twist around the little bit of truth that might have existed before. The truth that our purpose in life is that we were made in God's image to reflect God's glory.
But, as JP said in his message last night, once Satan manages to distort that reflection, he can manipulate us into believing (and therefore doing) anything. And he seeks nothing more than to destroy us by telling us and making us believe the lies until we can't hear the truth anymore. But here's the greater truth that i came away with in yesterday's morning message: the power of the world and it's lies are great, but God is greater than all of that.
Joe Lechner used the example of the demon possessed man And it illustrated 2 things. First, he showed the intensity of the war that's going on between God and Satan, truths and lies; even the intensity of the wars that we tend to fight within ourselves.
I mean, think about it: the disciples had just gotten to shore after making it through a giant storm that almost killed them, only to end up in an unclean place (cemetery), surrounded by unclean animals (pigs) and unclean people (gentile pig herders), trying to help this man with not only an unclean spirit, but a "legion" of demons, only to end up being asked to leave immediately! For a Jew, it would have been like stepping straight into the threshold of Hell itself! That's pretty powerful stuff!
But again, God is greater than all of that, so great that the demons were begging him for mercy.
The second thing the passage illustrates is the most amazing truth, in my opinion, that Jesus went through all of that just to save that one defiled, unclean, demon possessed man.
The message really was an example of the human condition. It showed that Jesus was and is willing to walk straight through Hell and break through every single wall that we have to save us from the lies and the struggles and the dangers of this world!
All the lies of "you're not good enough, pretty/handsome enough, strong or sane enough", all the lies that "you're unworthy, unloved unwanted", all the lies that say that "you will never amount to anything" take away the only true source of contentment/happiness that we have, which is that we were made to know and love God, and to be known and loved by God. And when we can't see the truth, we are in desperate danger of spiraling so far down into the lies that all we can see and all we focus on and believe to be real is our own pain. Our pain ends up defining us. And we no longer see our hope and our strength and our salvation.
And the world is just too dangerous of a place for that.
The truth is that God loves you so much that he sent his son all the way after you to break your chains, set you free, and love you completely.
If you could see yourself the way that God sees you, you would not allow yourself to so easily believe the world's lies.
Do not let one moment go by that doesn't remind you that your heart beats a hundred thousand times a day, that there is a springtime that somehow always manages to show up after every single winter. Do not give up.
Do. not. give. up. please.
please.
God loves you, there is hope.

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