Learning to Think Like God – 6-14-22

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Second Corinthians chapter 5 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Assurance of the Resurrection

For we know that if our earthly [a]house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our [b]habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as [c]a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Be Reconciled to God

12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [d]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:1 Physical body
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:2 dwelling
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:5 down payment, earnest
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:19 reckoning

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Acts 4:12- “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Yesterday, Paul was defending his ministry and encouraging others in the Lord to keep going, despite the attacks. Today Paul continues to defend his ministry and picks up right where we left off.

We are NOT destroyed! Here we are, day after day, still standing. We may be knocked around, but we are back again. Some people did not understand how profound this is when presented to you yesterday. Others walked away when going through half of what you have withstood. Still others bowed under the pressures. And sadly some were destroyed. BUT HERE YOU ARE! By grace, in His hands, you are still here and still praising Him! This is only because of the great power of God!

The world encourages by saying that their god will fix it and make it go away. Our God tells the truth – we WILL go through it, but we will stand in Him through it if WE put ALL our TRUST in HIM! Our God is very honest – hey, this might destroy you. But it will be for HIS glory and that should be exactly what you want.

1For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Paul is not talking about a physical house, tent or other type of dwelling – he is calling our bodies a earthy house, a tent. Although I have a friend who lives south of me, but still in NY and her home was destroyed during the last hurricane that hit southern New York. God gave her this verse/passage, and I have to admit, at the time I found it really stretching the whole keeping the scriptures pure and contextual. But surrounded by all that she lost – home, clothing, belongings, memories and keepsakes – She learned through this passage that God was just pruning her and she should set her affections on things eternal – in building a heaven hope, He built her a new home, which was better. In sewing heavenly garments, He clothed her in a beautiful new wardrobe. She found herself with an excess and stared blessing others! She no longer worried about the house or clothes or any of the care of this world – they became temporary and she focused on things eternal.
Therefore, even though this passage is about our human bodies, as Paul understood the flight for his life, it CAN actually be applied to our physical houses and earthy possession.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,”

To earnestly groan is to desire, want, hope for – like when you are fasting and are down to the last hour of the fast and you groan for food. Or when you are persistently praying for something you need in your life and need God to move so badly, you groan. We need to learn to want the Kingdom of heaven that much. We need to want what God wants for us, so much that we groan for it!

if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”

It is the logical next step. Not for us to be suicidal or wanting to die – it is a Kingdom of Heaven desire. We run a race here on earth and THIS VERY THING is our prize, our goal line! When one runs a race, you run it to the end – you do not take a shortcut to the finish line.

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

There is SO MUCH goodness in today’s chapter!!! So, let us talk about doubt. I have heard: ‘we are only human – it is natural to doubt.’ Well, my friends you and I are moving past the natural, the earthly, the worldly and the fleshly! By grace we have the ability to move past doubt! Is it possible to believe without doubt?! Yes – He has given us the Spirit as a GUARANTEE!! Sometimes we trust companies’ guarantees more than we trust God’s. Shame on us. Let us repent. Lord, we believe! Please help our unbelief and move us into your strength as we are weak – and in grace banish doubt from us! In the name of Jesus!

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Are you confident? Convinced? And able to walk in the authority that comes from the heart understanding that while here, even when we walk and talk with God, even with asking Jesus to come into our lives and EVEN being filled to overflowing with His Spirit in us, that no matter how close we get to God here on earth, even if he came and talked with us the way he talked with Moses – we are still absent of the glorious communion instore for us after our earthy life.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.”

We make it our aim, our goal – they things we strive for… is to obey pout of LOVE. Not out of duty or fear. But because we love God back, after he first loved us. Sometimes I go through periods were I do not feel as lovey towards God as I used to – and I pray fervently for that feeling and love back. Love is often a choice and not a feeling. But I never want to stay in a place of choice, and chance sliding into obeying because of duty. So I pray for the feeling, the fire, and the passion to come back as quick as possible and not to let that season stay. Too many of us wax cold without realizing; we need to return to our first love. And do it daily!

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Some of you have been following a while and know this – but it is NOT a lesson that is taught very often anymore from the pulpit. Even Christians, all believers, must appear for judgment.
Now we all know that EVERYONE gets judged as to if they get into heaven or not. The cartoon of a pearly gate with everyone lined up and checking a book is cute – but not biblical. There is a book with the names of those who are saved. AND the bible does say that your name can be in there and then subsequently blotted out. But this is not the judgment of where you will spend eternity. This is what is referred to as the Bema Seat, or second judgement. It is not clear in the biblical text if it is a second judgement or all at once type of thing. However it happens, we are all going to be held accountable for everything we do and ever word we speak. Entrance into heaven is a gift for believing. But if you and I really believe this stuff – we will love, obey and bear fruit. So it is logical and right that the measure of our belief is judged by our words and actions. We cannot words and actions our way into heaven. God is all knowing… it is the heart and motivation of those words and actions that will be judged.
AND although God is ALL-KNOWING – there is a difference between all-knowing and knowing us individually, in a relationship, intimately.
So it all boils down to if we have a relationship with Him. Do we know Him well enough that we love and obey and do His will (or at least try to as we are learning)? And does He know us back in a personal way.

11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”

I want to be known by God. I want Him to look at me and say – THERE YOU ARE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, ENTER INTO MY JOY. With His gloriously booming voice that I image He must have in glory. But if this is all true and we really believe this, we then learn and know all aspects of God and have an understanding of the terror of the Lord. Not fear like the enemy inflicts, but a reverence because we know ALL that is possible with Him, in Him and through Him. And we know hell is real and not made for mankind and all this understanding compels us to have a heart for the lost to try to reach them.

Ok – so now I am going to change versions of the Bible for this last section. From here out is the Berean Study Bible Version. As a disclaimer, I have to tell you that I DO NOT know much about this version’s history or associations and I am not condoning or condemning the Bereans. What I do know is – this version is a new translations that took the best of the available manuscripts and sources and translated from Greek and Hebrew into modern English. Otherwise, the King James Version is the only other version that is thought to have been translated directly from the manuscripts into King James English. The rest of the version were translations from the King James. (As far as I know, based on information was taught years ago and a quick internet search did not disagree.)
Who are Bereans? Well, in Acts 17, after Paul fled Thessalonica – he and Silas landed in Berea.
“…they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” Acts 17:11 NIV (Not sure how I ended up in that version but you get what I am saying.)
So these were scholars and believers. A great combination!
Modern Bereans can be “Berean Baptists” or the non-denominational church called the ‘Berean Bible Church’.
And now you know as much as I know about the history and association. But I also know that when I look things up in Strong’s, the word choice in the Berean Study Bible is usually the word in our modern language that best fits the definition of the Greek word, in my opinion. Therefore in my opinion it is both accurate and worded in a way that is more common today.
Why did I change this portion of today’s discussion to this version?
Because when Paul start with the rhetorical questions and use of mathematical logic to make us think – well, that is a very 1st century Greek methodology of discussing philosophy and not a method you and I are overly familiar with – add to that complicated literary devise, the fact that the New King James Version is not our modern way of understanding language – Paul gets confusing! Even with all of my Bible studying, it is easy for my eyes to glaze over during these sections and after a few verses I realize, I tuned myself out because I wasn’t following.

Now back to our discussion:

11Therefore, since we know what it means to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is clear to God, and I hope it is clear to your conscience as well. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again. Instead, we are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you can answer those who take pride in appearances rather than in the heart.

As you recall, hopefully, from our other discussions, one of the issues in this church was that they were comparing Paul to other teachers who were NOT preaching from the heart – false teachers who were peddling the gospel for money.

13If we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.”

Another reason I love this version! ‘If I am out of my mind!’ Serving God is often like being out of our minds! I am here working 15 hours a day learning and working on the business God gave me – struggling financially (temporarily) and living on faith and everyone around me thinks I am out of my mind – and for God, I am! Lol (I am doing this, because this is what God said to do, and until He says otherwise, this is what I do.) Now, for them who ask me and for you – I present myself with sound mind, back logically with Scriptures. As for with God – I sometimes cry and babble incoherently, but he knows and with you a select words in English carefully to express what is happening in my head.
Here is a better example of being out of your mind for God and in it for people: for the last three years there have been very specific images / symbols that God keeps throwing at me; let’s use “The Table”. Be it the table of the wedding supper of the Lamb, or the table in the midst of thy enemies, or any time a table is mentioned in scriptures or randomly in a church service. Most times, unless it comes from someone who knows that about me, God has something for me in or around that word. I hear it and I listen more carefully to see what God might be saying.
So one day I had a dream with the table in it and food and a garden and well, a whole dream worth of things. Then I went to a church discussion / zoom meeting, where it was an open discussion about God, led by the pastor. Well, one lady speaks about a garden, another person speaks of the table, another speaks about a feast and none of it tied together except I was seeing it tied together, and I started crying! Then another spoke of Jesus being the groom – and I clicked the button to speak next. I thought I should share my dream and tie all these seemingly random things together! I get called on next to speak – but I cannot stop crying. I am just repeating the images and ideas and parts of my dream and NOT A WORD of what I said made any since. I was never invited back. Lol! For God, I am out of my mind! It all made so much sense to me and God! I should have composed myself more and prayed for a sound mind, so I could have spoken clearly. But maybe God was just speaking to me about it all.

14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. 15And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

It is Christ’s love in us, through us, helping us, and causing us to love God, that compels us! And then the rest of this is a version of the gospel message – Christ died so we could live for Him.  But Paul never says what it is he is compelled to do. So stepping back and looking at the whole passage we can see Paul is still defending his ministry. Therefore he is compelled to preach the gospel, win the lost, build churches, edify and teach those churches. As often as I say: ‘Get humble and repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.’ I also find myself saying that we are ALL called to share Christ. You do not have to be a pastor, evangelist, missionary, etc. Everyone who has met Jesus should be compelled to share Him. Maybe you just need the filling of the Power and Boldness of the Holy Spirit, in order to be compelled – but in love we are all called to be witnesses.

16So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.”

We are at a disadvantage here. They all knew someone who witnessed Jesus in flesh or maybe they themselves were witnesses. Then they had to change the way they looked at things when Jesus ascended into heaven. Paul was using that change of mindset as an example of our need to change the way we regard people. I do not know what types of mindset changes you have gone through in your lives to give another good example of a shift in mindset. So to the best of our ability, we must know we cannot look at people as just flesh any longer. They are souls. They are either part of our own body or they are lost and we should grieve and be compelled to save them.
An easier way is to know we cannot look at a murder as a murder, it is a lost soul, which God made and loves. We can no longer look at a child trafficker as a trafficker, a cheater as a cheater, a person in a porno as an object, a manipulator as a manipulator or a sinner as a sinner. They are souls that God made and loves. We cannot look at Joe Biden as a dementia ridden puppet for the global machine – he is a soul God man and loves.
MOREOVER – DO NOT look at me as the sinner, addict, fornicator, victim of abuse, etc. I am not only a soul God made and loved – But I am also a child of God.

17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!

“In Christ” being the operative words. Some are saved by grace and instantly transformed. I was saved and struggled for years and slipped away and came back and slipped and yo-yo’d for years until one day grace rocked my world and I was changed. Was I ‘not really saved’ before? NO. I was with all confidence and filled with the Holy Ghost assuredly saved before. Witnessing and preaching.
We become a new creation when we were one way and now we are another and the thing that happened was Jesus! And sometimes we accept Jesus, but not the change. So God works on us for as long as it takes until we accept the change and we really enter in to Him. You see, first we ask Him into us – but it isn’t until we reciprocate that we are truly IN HIM and transformed! Touched by grace!

I am a child of God, nothing else matter. All Jesus sees are my fruits and potential to produce more. All God sees is me, the way He created me. I am no longer a sinner – I am transformed into a servant of God, because I am compelled by my love for Him.

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Since the fall of mankind in the garden, God has put 100% of his efforts into restoring His relationship with humans. God loves us and works tirelessly to turn our hearts to Him. To get us to humble ourselves and get rid of the flesh (which gets us in trouble) and to have us repent from being influenced and persuaded by the enemy. Restoring our relationship means to reconcile the sins of our flesh – to have them washed by the Blood of the Lamb – the only thing that can wash away sin.

Our God is a God of reconciliation.

This must be a deep concept to the Corinthians, being that they had divisions among them. Relationships cannot be restored, usually – but the parties can come to some sort of reconciliation if they just see each other the way God sees us and we don’t count their trespasses against them.
“not imputing their trespasses to them” < – in NKJV
Not crediting, attributing, assigning, complaining, calculating, including, counting, acknowledging, imputing, etc. Those are both the alternative meanings in Greek as well as English synonyms.
In light of those words, let us think about the different modern Christian council and offense / dispute settlement. First and foremost we must forgive. Ok, I did that. I may have done it more for my sake than for theirs, but I forgave and gave it to God and then went through the whole process of letting go and really forgiving and trying to heal. If you forgive and forget, like God does for us, then we are prone to falling victim of the offense (or in some cases abuse) again. So often Christian counselors say, forgive, but do not forget. Maybe there is a third option?! We forgive and we no longer assign an offense to them (as if they didn’t – JUST LIKE GOD SEES THEM), but we remember reconciliation is NOT exactly restoration. It is easier to forgive someone and still keep the offense assigned to them. But the wounds do not heal that way – and that is NOT how God works. We must forgive and remove the assignment – it is a foothold for the enemy to come in and snare you or me.

I know this is a step deeper than most take this – because it is HARDER word than just forgiving. How do you know this person has a history of hurting or offending you, and remove it at the same time? Reconciliation.
Now I could write for days on this matter and I am trying to keep it brief – today is so good! Praise the Lord! The word “Reconciliation” is a mathematical word also used in finance. In math it means to solve two equation to a reconciled third point, either a solution or to another equation. But that kind of math is advanced. In finance you take two categories and reconcile them to a third – your credits in your ledger and your debits in your ledger. To reconcile them is to get them to add (or subtract) up correctly and match your bank account. Now a days most people do not keep a ledger, instead do online banking and reconcile what they think they spent to their accounts instantly with a bank app – but business do keep a ledger, either in a computer program or possibly still handwritten in a book, and those need to be reconciled. So reconciliation with people is to take the offence as a credit and debit – so it is canceled out it is there but it is no longer counted, then take the forgiveness – and we reconcile it to the bank statement (aka God’s way of seeing things) and we no longer have any negative and a surplus of positive and our spiritual bank has somehow grown. We cannot restore, because we cannot remove a transaction – we needed to go through the process – which leaves us with more. God couldn’t restore us – or Jesus would not have died and rose. That was done to add a positive credit over our equal negative credit in order to have it no longer count against us. We had a debt, and it was paid. Our spiritual account was NOT just balanced and reconciled – we received forgiveness and walked away with a multiple of a blessing! Did you follow that?

20Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God.”

Paul is writing to a bunch of believers. We sometimes forget that when reading things like “we implore you [to]… be reconciled to God.” I agree it sounds like a community outreach alter call / call to action. Not something to say to a bunch of people who are such GREAT Christians that they are not only better than each other – but feel high enough to criticize The Man of God. Yes, that is some sarcasm – but honestly – these are believers, shouldn’t they already be reconciled to God? And if they need to be (and we aren’t clear on all their offenses to Paul, let alone to each other and God), how does this then apply to us? I would not have ended the chapter where it was ended! Because we will learn more tomorrow about this need to reconcile. Until then, and as a brief answer – we need to become really good repenters. We need to learn to repent and each day turn away from more and more, as God leads you. Not into legalism but into freedom.

21God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Flash back to our first few discussions of the book of Romans – becoming the righteousness of God and that list of things to repent of and then the “die to self’ exercises. Remember Paul wrote to the Romans while IN Corinth, they are already familiar with Paul’s teachings on repentance and death to self. So when Paul cross references his own letter to Rome, here, they would have caught the reference and known what he was talking about.

Well – today was a lot to think about. As Paul defends his ministry – we learn to be more Christ-like and even to understand and think more like God! We are not just to be kingdom minded – heavenly minded – pressing towards that goal. But we are also to be God minded and learn to think like He thinks – which means getting to know Him better in the word, in prayer, and prayerfully thinking and pondering the word anticipating revelation.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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