Who am I?

From BobHamp.com

“Watch, I’ll show you what I’m made of.” We say this when we want to show others our strength or capabilities. Wouldn’t it be cool to figure out what we are really made of? And I don’t mean like skin and bones. I mean how we are put together.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

In the Bible we find an account of the creation of man that can be really helpful in figuring out the make-up of our being: “God formed the man from the dust of the ground.”

  • God formed a physical structure which had no life in and of itself. “He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”
  • The Spirit of Life, the Spirit or breath of God entered the inanimate form
  • The man became a living being…( a self or a soul)
  • The man became an independent entity, still containing the breath of life, the Spirit of God.

Man became a physical form, made to be an independent being (a soul), containing the breath of God. What made the man who he was came from the fact that he was born from the breath of God.

Living from this center, from the Breath of God, meant that through his physical self, God Himself was empowering Adams life.

When Adam sinned, it was the Breath that left him. The “self” remained, but it was disconnected. A soul without the Spirit. While the spirit had been the way the man connected to God and the spiritual realm, the soul was how the man interacted with his natural environment. Without the Spirit his mind, his will, and his emotions, became his source of power, and source of truth.

When we are “born again” it is this Spirit which is birthed in us, or gives us birth from the Heavens (spiritual realm).

Once the Spirit of God is re-established in us, we are still faced moment by moment with the exercise of the will as to whether we will live from the Spirit within us, or whether we will live out of our soul.

Living by the Knowledge of Good and Evil still has us living from the soul, our disconnected self. Knowing God, the Tree of Life, restores a power source, greater than us.

Thinking from the mind, will and emotions is different than tapping into the Spirit of God and having your mind renewed. This is the kind of “thinking differently” we are after.

How did I know?

From BobHamp.com

I pulled into the parking lot. What I saw with my eyes was the same thing I saw every day. But something was not right. I could not explain it but I could describe it. Something felt amiss, not right, out of place. A disturbance in the Force if you will. The cars were parked exactly as they should have been, the doors were locked as they should have been. But the more things appeared normal, the more the tension grew inside. What I was seeing with my eyes was not lining up with… with… what I… knew.

I opened the secure door to enter the detention facility and for the first time what I heard with my senses lined up with what I sensed with my… guts… inner man… intuition… okay, call it spirit. The noises coming down the hallway were chaotic and carried a sense of urgency. I moved quickly now to find my co-workers in a restraint situation, but it was more. The whole hallway, and both wings of locked rooms were a mess. Noise and clutter told me that this restraint was not a matter of one misbehaving resident, but a major incident involving the whole facility.

How did I know that something was going on that day at the Juvenile Detention Center? I can probably explain it better today, than I could at the time. It is this sense on which I want to elaborate. We have ways of knowing with which we must grow increasingly familiar.

My friend Alan Smith says that our ways of knowing are like contact lenses (or did I say that…? I forget) We look through them all the time but we seldom look at them. Yet it is these very lenses that either allow or disallow input into our awareness. Not only that but, different ways of knowing allow different types of input.

The way I know quantum physics is not the same way I know I am in love. The way I know about unseen danger, is different than the way I know how to make cheesecake. And the way I know God is different than the way I know good and evil.

If we try to know God in the same way we know good and evil, we are set up for multiple traps.

Knowing God takes place in our Spirit and flows into our soul and body
Knowing good and evil takes place in our soul and cannot access our spirit

Knowing God comes at His initiative and our receptivity and accesses His strength.
Knowing good and evil comes at our initiative and depends on the strength of our will.

Knowing God keeps us rightly aligned with reality and others
Knowing good and evil puts us on a comparison basis where we struggle with either pride or shame

Knowing God is like plugging into a power source outside of us
Knowing good and evil makes us the power source

We can study or even teach the same passage of scripture, even use the same outline, perhaps even use the same word choices, and have completely different impacts because of the above distinctions. God can produce effects that we cannot.

Have you ever had someone who was angry at you, utilize words that portray that they are not angry? Yet their posture, their gritted teeth, the tension of their jaw, and countless other signs tell you that their words and the energy in their soul simply do not match.

This is what happens when we try to use God’s words, but operate from the knowledge of good and evil.

Repentance is the act of shifting from knowing good and evil to knowing God. Change your lenses. You can look again at what you have seen all of your life, and it appears brand new. Change your lenses.

Or as Jesus would say, “if you will have eyes that see”. I am pretty sure He was encouraging us to Think Differently.

It’s a good thing that Cherubim was there with that sword.

The Tree of Life

Form BobHamp.com

When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, I am certain that the Garden was also kicked out of them. Life in the Garden was filled with unique attributes. Life outside… well, let’s look.

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17

We first must understand that all of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. It has been translated through the generations to give us the English Bibles we have today. Translation is a tricky process, as you cannot take the translator out of the process. Translators have their own perceptions that affect the process. Kind of like human communication in every arena. Teaching in other nations, when my own interpreter does not understand the concept I am conveying, they cannot accurately convey the meanings embedded in a teaching.

Let’s look at the verse above through different eyes. Anytime our eyes view God as mean, or rigid, we must assume we are viewing Him incorrectly. I fear verses like those above could lend us to viewing God incorrectly.

First, the story. Adam and Eve have just sinned, and God has come to describe what comes next after their mess-up. They took into themselves the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This changed everything, and God began to adjust some things to go with this new circumstance. His last adjustment is described in the verse above.

He set a cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life. Darn that cherubim. Stupid sword… we should be able to get to the tree of life. Shouldn’t we?

What if the english here is not an accurate picture of what God set in motion. We picture a vigilant guard, standing in protection mode to prevent access.

The “Flaming” sword does not imply flames for intimidation or destruction, rather the Hebrew word here, lahat means “enwrappping” or magic, covertness, and is sometimes translated as enchantment. The word implies then, that whatever is happening with this sword has an effect on perception. Add to this the word haphak which we translate “flashing back and forth” and is more accurately understood as changing or distorting, and we see that this cherubim is using his sword to disguise or hide the WAY through distorting or disrupting our perception.

Now, what is he guarding through this method of disguise, the tree? No, even the English says he is guarding, or distorting the way to the tree. So our mind pictures him blocking a path. But the Hebrew word is derek, which can mean a literal path, but more strongly indicates a mode of living , or a course of life. I might say a way of thinking.

Put it all together and we see that God has placed this angelic creature here with a mechanism which will confuse our perceptions, so that the way we might try to locate the Tree of life will not actually locate it. In other words, we cannot access the Tree of Life through our way of perceiving, through the knowledge of good and evil. Trying to access the Tree of Life through our knowledge of good and evil is a bit like trying to know love through quantum physics.

There is a way to get to the tree. Humans knowing good stuff and bad stuff is not that way.

Not only did we leave the Garden, but the way we perceived reality in the Garden left us. It had to.

So how do we access the Tree?

The second verse listed above is the answer to this question.

Jesus tells us, “repent, for the Kingdomof Heaven is near”.

Because we have tried to access the Tree of Life through the Knowledge of Good and Evil we read that verse like this, “Straighten up, God is coming soon.”

But the word “REPENT” is not at all what we think. This word is all about perceptions. Specifically it is about changing our mode of perceptions. Sound familiar? The word repent means “think differently”. Not just different. Differently. Change the way you take in the world around you. Becuase the Kingdom of God, the reality of His Spirit, the Source of Life… is NEAR.

You cannot access it by doing good, and avoiding bad, you must change the frequency on which you are receiving. Apparently I will have to write more about this in the days ahead…for now, begin to think differently. Could the Tree be near right now, but hidden from your eyes?

I really like Grace

From BobHamp.com

At the top of my “What I like about God” list is His Grace.  Not the “I can get away with stuff” part.  In fact, I am pretty sure that part of Grace is not really grace.  I like the “it’s there when I need it most“, and the “it is exactly what I need” aspect of grace.

I fear that some people view grace as this crazy idea that God has suspended His opinion temporarily.  As if the church age is a period in history during which God has lowered His standard.  He had to, right?  We can’t meet His standard, so the opinion, (often unconscious) is that God brought the bar down, so that we could all clear it.  In our culture, a “grace period” refers to a period of  time when we can get away with not following through.

Not a single day passes in which your behaviors and choices have no effect on your life.    If there were such a thing, what would happen if you made a Would you miss out on the benefits?

Grace.

Grace is power.  Not encouragement, not motivation, not approval. Grace is Power. It can be encouraging, and motivating, and it can help you know you are accepted, but those are the effects, not the substance. Grace is an energizing force, which, when inhabiting people, generates through them the same impact as comes from the Giver of Grace. It is raw energy. I can either manufacture from my will and actions good behavior, or I can receive Goodness from the original source. Grace is the raw energy that enables me to actually be the person that God originally created me to be. On my own, apart from Grace, I am merely a poser and a stumbling imitation. I like Grace because it empowers me to actually be the man that I always wanted to be.

I like that it is available most, when I need it most.  We so often focus on the “get away with stuff” thought that we may cheapen and miss the beauty of this gift. “Where sin abounds, Grace abound all the more” Paul tells us.  And anticipating the natural human tendency he immediately says, “I am not telling you to sin more in order to get more”, as if we need to. Listen, the need is so constant and great, that the idea of conjuring up one more opportunity to “need grace” completely spits in the face of the One who paid a high price in order to offer us overwhelming love.

I tend toward weakness. My default setting is still selfishness. My mind seems to have, well, a mind of its own. My need for Grace, for an injection of God’s Nature, is ongoing. To make intentional choices to destroy myself and others because I believe God has suspended reality for this age is not presuming on Grace. It is choosing to act separate of the One Power which can bring life instead of death, and health instead of destruction. God will still love you, but you just signed up for pain. He will always have open arms, and fill you again tomorrow, but He loves you enough to allow you to reap what you sow on earth.

I need Grace every day, to flow through me and bring the effects of God into my circumstances and geography. I am grateful I do not have to earn God’s empowering presence. That would send me into a never-ending downward spiral in which I need God in order to change, but I cannot get God unless I change. Thank God, HE offers more of Himself at the times I need it most.

I really like Grace.

Hearing the truth about what God says

I came across this post the other day, and it’s a great reminder for us to really consider the truth of God, and what he has to say to us.  Most of the time, we get it wrong. We struggle against the lies that are so embedded in our soul, but we have to let Truth prevail, because the Truth will set you free (John 8:32).

You say
God says

You say: It’s impossible
God says: All things are possible ( Luke 18:27)

You say: I’m too tired
God says: I will give you rest ( Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: Nobody really loves me
God says: I love you ( John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: I can’t go on
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: I can’t figure things out
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: I can’t do it
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You say: I’m not able
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: It’s not worth it
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You say: I can’t forgive myself
God says: I forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: I can’t manage
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You say: I’m afraid
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear ( II Timothy 1:7)

You say: I’m always worried and frustrated
God says: Cast all your cares on me (I Peter 5:7)

You say: I’m not smart enough
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: I feel all alone
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

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