The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights. -Oswald Chambers
My nephew is 3 years old. Lunch for his brothers and sister were being prepared for the day and they were being carefully assembled on the kitchen counter. His mom grabbed the block of cheese from the refrigerator and began slicing pieces off for each of their lunch boxes. No one was eating the cheese at the moment, it was for later. But this little guy was ready, right now, to get his cheesy prize. His logic was clearly, “if there’s cheese, then I get some.” Unclear to him this was false logic, because once he found out he wasn’t getting any cheese, his happy, sweet and innocent self turned into a thrashing, loud and tearful torment. What in the world just happened?
He felt he had a right to get cheese. All the pieces were in place for this to be true . . . he was there, cheese was there, mommy was there, his mouth was there! Cha-ching!
I have been challenged lately in my life in much the same way. There are circumstances where I have felt all the right pieces were present for a very specific outcome. On more than one occasion these moments have never turned out as I had imagined they would . . . or should. So, upon departure I would find my anxiety to be high, my criticism to be sharp and despair to be looming near in the shadows. What in the world just happened?
It’s all about my rights! In those moments, much like my nephew, I thought I deserved something. A pat on the back or a certain comment, maybe just a positive look to assure myself things are just fine. The fact is I don’t NEED any of those things. Sure, I’d like them and it would be added coolness to get them, but all of those things are already being met in and through Christ in me. I just need to learn, and trust, in living in that truth. My worth, my identity is found through Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
by: Mark Cruver
In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly. It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief. Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself! But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.
My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis. Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning! I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!
My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows. But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing! It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!
So, my answer to my friend was this. As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me. That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust! That’s my Hope in crisis!
by: Mark Cruver
For me, this blog represents a place where I can express things in my mind that often make more sense to me if I get them on paper — or at least the computer screen. Sealed & Seated came about because of my own lack of understanding the truth of who I am in Christ.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
Key to this verse in my life was the two words “Having believed.” The truth of having been sealed with Christ was good for me to know. In fact, I can say I probably heard it a thousand times before. But faith comes through believing it — that’s what drives behavior. If I don’t believe it to be true, then I won’t live like I believe it! So I know and believe that I am sealed within Christ — my life IS Christ!
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7
It was always a special day on Thanksgiving to circle around the family dinner table and find the place where my name was written. It was MY place! Chosen for me, designated for me, prepared for me! God has gone before us and prepared that seat! Through His resurrection I too have been raised and placed in a seat with Him! It is MY place!
by: Mark Cruver