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Sunday, January 23, 2022

This Week of "On This Day" Sharing (January 16-22, 2022)

 

A central part of my walk with God this week was the desire to know how he does this:


The LORD your God is in your midst,

    a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

    he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17)


The following daily posts reflect my journey in coming to know what God meant by this, and how it applies to life today. The conclusion of the week was that I want God to do what it takes for me to know him like this now, while looking forward to the perfection of this when I join him in our heavenly home. 


Sunday: "The Love That 
Quiets Our Hearts"


It is very common in our in-home daycare to find one of us quieting a child from some form of negative emotion. Whether it is hurt from an injury, or grief over a disappointment, quieting a child must be done in love. 

I am one of those people who has had a long journey in getting to know how much our Creator loves me. So many life-experiences have told me I am unlovable, so getting to know the unfailingness of God’s love has helped to overcome this message. 

One of the biggest ways God makes his love known to me is through my interactions with his word. As I connect to what he is telling me, I can attach to him and what he is communicating to me right then and there. 

This morning’s expression of God’s love filled me with wonder. I hope it sounds like an invitation for you to know God’s love for yourself. If ever we needed a heavenly Father to quiet us with his love, it is now.


Monday: "The one thing Missing"


We can’t seem to escape some talk about climate change and natural disasters, along with dangerous viruses and vaccines. Neither can we escape the dishonesty and corruption that saturates the world’s “elite” who are using such things for their deceived and deceptive view of what is good. 

So, what is the one thing missing? I don’t mean the little obvious things like sanity, love, understanding, wisdom, and peace. 

I mean the one HUGE thing constantly missing from everything the world tries to do because it is the world. As strange as it seems, the world keeps leaving out the knowledge, wisdom, insight, understanding, and love of the Creator, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

And, because the world leaves out the very source and explanation for their life, nothing in life makes sense. Unless, of course, a few of us turn back to the Creator in Jesus’ name and enter a mutual mindstate with him that makes sense of everything. 

Oh, and restores our love-relationship with the Creator. 


Tuesday: "Eternity in Our Hearts"


I am a few years into my seventh decade, and something is obvious: there is a consciousness inside me that is not growing old. It is not aging. It is not tired of life. It is not weary of love-relationships. It does hate that my body is betraying its desire to keep doing what it wants to do. But God’s Book explains both why I have that desire for unending life within me, and why my body is deteriorating at the same time. 

My parents are both still alive, so I might also have a couple more decades in me as well. However, when I think of the fact that I am over the hill, that the downside goes a lot faster than the upside, that there are viruses and diseases that want to speed up the process, and government is increasing its methods of doing us in, the one thing that gives me hope is called, “Christ in you the hope of glory”. 

In other words, that desire to live forever can be met by the one who lives forever! In Jesus the Christ is life, and his life is the light of men, and all who come into that light through repentance and faith receive the gift of eternal life. Don’t let anyone keep you from experiencing the eternity that God has put in your heart coming into the eternal life that is a gift from God’s heart. 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”!


Wednesday: "At Home in Eternity"


I have had many relationships end simply because we were separated by circumstances. Many others ended because people didn’t want to be in my life any longer. I have heard all kinds of justifications for why I am not worthy of someone’s friendship or love and I’m sure my stories would resonate with lots of others. 

I now look at the state of our world with corrupt governments deliberately harming their people, and laws being passed to discriminate against our long-cherished rights and freedoms. I see people divided over what is good or bad about viruses and vaccines, and no end of hypocrisy as the ongoing cry of “inclusion” only applies to some people while others are treated like second-class citizens. 

In the midst of so much division, heartache, attachment-pain, and even hopelessness, the Creator announces that he likes to be with me. No, not because I am good, but because HE is good. And the thing that draws him to me is that he has brought my heart to see that I can’t live without him, his kindness had led me to repentance, and his grace has drawn me to faith in his Son. 

Today, I simply marvel that he wants to be with me, and make his home with me, while never leaving the most high and holy place in all of eternity. That means I have the comfort of his love in me while knowing he sovereignly rules and reigns over all the evils and injustices in the world. Everything in-between he will work for my greatest good. 


Thursday: "The Antagonist, Disappointment"


For a while, I have been learning to think along the lines of, “how do my people relate to this kind of situation?” My people are the ones who live out in real life how God’s people handle things that come up. We find them in God’s Book, as he shows us when his people did not act like who they are, and as he shows us what it looks like when they acted consistent with who they are in Christ. The Bible calls these people “witnesses” of the life of faith. 

We also find “our people” in history as we read or hear of those who set an example of handling difficult situations while remaining true to their new identity as a child of God. Some of these examples are happening in the present history as it unfolds, children of God who demonstrate remaining true to their “in Christ” relationship with God while all kinds of circumstances challenge them to surrender. 

Last night I was hit with a disappointment of the “No! Not again!” variety. It’s what I brought to my time with God this morning, asking myself how my people have handled such experiences. As I considered what I have been reading in God’s word this week, it was clear that God himself wanted to show me how my people act. 

After some time of prayerful meditation on the word of God, I had a very clear prayer list about how I could act like who I am in Christ as the need to handle this disappointment awaits. I hope it encourages you as well.


Friday: "The Shame That Heal Shame"


Feeling shame has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that it is an appropriate response to doing something wrong. The expression, “you ought to be ashamed of yourself” is true. Our world is sliding into a love of wrongdoing because no one is ashamed of anything and parades their sins like a middle-finger salute to God. 

The bad side of shame is when we can’t escape the awareness that we have done something shameful, or have been treated for such a long time like we are a shameful person, that we can’t even find our real selves because everything within us seems to be a hopeless pus-ball of disgusting humiliation. 

We cannot avoid that, for us to enter the fullness of joy that is in knowing God, we must accept the healthy shame messages about what we are doing to replace him. We have to admit we have turned away from him if we will ever turn around and come home. 

I admit that people’s reaction to hearing of a “healthy shame message” is that it is an oxymoron (contradiction of terms) since they have never heard that there is a healthy side to feeling shame. Here are a few thoughts about why hearing a shame message from God is a good thing. I would be happy to share more!


Saturday: "Returning God’s People to Joy"


When I first began to learn how to return children to joy, it was one of the most hope-filling experiences of my life. I already knew that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Ps 30:5 ~ NIV). However, I had no idea how much we could influence this by deliberately working to return one another to joy. 

Since those early lessons, I have been delightfully shocked to discover how God is not only interested in returning his children to joy, but that his word is saturated with his efforts to do so. Did not the birth announcement of his Son begin with, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11 ~ ESV)? 

Jesus himself told three parables in a row that showed how the joy people would feel in finding a lost sheep, finding a lost coin, and finding a lost son, is what it is like in heaven when God brings any of his children home. Jesus concluded these parables with, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance,” and, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents”, and, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:7,10,32). 

I share these thoughts in the hope that you will open your heart to the good news of great joy and discover how the heavenly Father returns his children to joy better than we will ever experience anywhere else in the whole wide world.


© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


Saturday, January 15, 2022

This Week of "On This Day" Sharing (January 9-15, 2022)

A couple of months ago I began a certain style of sharing online that has expanded into what I now call my "On This Day" sharing. I will let it speak for itself, but here is this past weeks' worth of contributions. Perhaps they will give you things to talk to our heavenly Father about for your own encouragement in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Sunday: "The Joy of God’s Work"

I have no doubt that God did the work of creation just as he describes it in his Book because the evidence is all around us. The very creation sings of his glory.

I have no doubt that God did the work of judging the world with a worldwide flood because there is worldwide evidence of exactly that. The layers of sedimentary rock filled with fossils of dead creatures all across our planet declares the glory of God. 

I have no doubt that God did the work of salvation in the death and resurrection of his Son since the eyewitnesses have confirmed it with one testimony after another that are in agreement to this fact. And those who witnessed it were all willing to die for what they knew had happened.

But what about this idea that God is at work now? And that he is active in the world to apply the redemptive work of salvation to people like you and me today?

Well, I have no doubt that God is at work in our world right now, partly because he says so, and partly because I am his work! I share this in the hope that you will welcome his work for yourself.


Monday: "The Unique God and his Book"

People often picture God’s word like it is just one of the many options about understanding who we are, why we are here, and what life is all about. Growing numbers of people don’t even care to know whether the Creator has really made himself known through the words we can read for our benefit every day. 

What I love to share with people is that there are only two categories to choose from. One is all the writings, beliefs, philosophies, mindsets, and worldviews, that describe man doing whatever it takes to get it right. The other, found only in the Bible, is the revelation of what God has had to do for us to be right with him. 

In this primer of evidence for why the Bible’s uniqueness affirms God as the author, I share a few of the realities that cannot be found anywhere else. It is not only that we must choose between all the man-centered systems that require good works from sinners, and the one message that declares good news of great joy that God has given us a Savior. 

It is also about whether we will humble ourselves to admit that we need the Savior who is only revealed to us through God’s word, the Bible. When we know in our hearts that we are helpless sinners, the good news is not only easier to believe, but it does become our “great joy” that God has sent his Son to save us. 


Tuesday: "Love: The Creative Difference"


The English language uses the word “love” to describe everything from a husband’s committed love for his wife to someone’s feelings for a new flavor of donut. This means that love must be understood in context. The object and the subject of love determine the quality of love in each case. 

Many people miss out on being the focus of God’s love because they believe the world’s lies that he does not exist. Others who say they believe in God do not believe his love applies to them. And still others claim that God’s love is so universal and accepting that it really doesn’t matter what we believe or do, God’s love will scoop us up in the end. 

Because knowing God’s love is the highest and greatest experience ever, and because so many are missing out on his love through misunderstandings, doubts, and deceptions, here are some clarifications directly from God’s own word. His grace is at work to reveal his love to our hearts. Those who receive his love by faith come to know the greatest love that exists. And that is an experience we can’t afford to miss. 


Wednesday: "The Dominoes of Love"


The metaphor of domino patterns illustrates how one thought about God falls against another until whole arrangements of wisdom and understanding fill our minds and brains. Not only do we benefit from the specific truths we learn, but also from the way the realities of God move through our hearts. 

As the world goes from bad to worse, and my time in this earthly life winds down ever so quickly, the one thing I want to encourage everyone to seek is a constantly growing relationship with God our Creator. It is in attachment to our Father in heaven that we gain hope even in this hopeless world. And it is in our connection to Jesus Christ that we have hope about the certainties of life after death. 

If these thoughts stir up a sense of wonder at the dominos of truth that reveal God’s love to you, please don’t just enjoy the show and then move on to find another. You are invited to know the love of God in a real and personal way, and Jesus Christ is the door to enter that relationship. Please stop and get to know him today. 


Thursday: "Experiencing God in Love"


There are many things I believed about God before I could say I knew them by experience. From a young age, I have known that God was watching out for me. I knew that his word was true, and that it told me how I could know him. I believed his words and knew that they were slowly seeping into the deeper places within me even before I knew what those places were called. 

I now can say that I know God’s love by experience rather than just belief. Even this is still growing, but it is a settled thing for me that God wants me to know his love. His word overflows with invitations to experience him in real and personal ways. 

When we read about such things as this, it is good to admit it if we can’t say we have any connection to God’s love at all. It is okay to let ourselves feel the sadness of missing out on the Creator’s love because his love will comfort us. It is okay to know that we cannot fix what is broken inside us because it opens our hearts to what God has done to bring us into his love. And, it is okay to admit that we are desperate to know what it feels like to be loved by God because God promises to satisfy that longing. 


Friday: "The Pursuit of Knowing God"


Because God can be known, it both delights me to share him with you in every way I can think of, and it grieves me that knowing the Creator is so undesirable to so many people. 

Over the course of my six-plus decades, it is a settled issue for me that there is nothing in life greater than knowing God. That includes the things we might be afraid of as much as the things we might desire. Knowing God is greater than whatever good we have found anywhere else, and whatever we are most afraid of in getting to know him. 

I say this as personally as I am able, that if you see in yourself that it is fear that holds you back from opening your heart to Jesus Christ, will you let me share my hope with you? I have a been-there-done-that experience with fear and, no matter what I have ever had to face and work through, I have many stories of how the scariest things in life have helped me get to know God better than I have ever known him before. 

Whatever time I have left in this earthly life, I want the years to help people bring their fears to God so that faith can flourish. We are in a horrible scary time, but the joy of knowing God is as real and personal as ever, waiting to be received by anyone who admits that this is what their hearts are longing for.


Saturday: "The Unity and Uniqueness of Life"


I love music that presents wonderful harmonies for the enjoyment of both ears and hearts. I love song presentations that sound like groups of people singing their praises to God as one people, but with distinctions of instruments and harmonies that work together to lift our souls to God in the joys of worship. 

The world swings between its horrible expressions of unity that are aimed at destroying others and its exaggerated emphasis on the individuality of its players that ruins people with a false sense of independence. 

In the plumbline between, God sings his song of life so that people find unity in the Creator while discovering their unique place in the choir of God. We become equally concerned for what matters to us all as to our unique place of interdependence with God’s people. 

With the word-pictures of songs and harmonies helping us along, please consider how the Creator is inviting you to hear his invitation into the life of God, and then come to Jesus for the unity and uniqueness of life in Christ. 



© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)


Thursday, January 6, 2022

The Freedom of Trusting the Judge

 I can’t convey the awe and wonder I feel as I travel through this verse. Jesus was someone who was so real and pure and single-minded that, when he did not revile in return, it was because he was that kind of person. 

To revile means to express foul or abusive language to someone. The fact that Jesus did not revile when reviled took me back to my teen years when I did not revile someone who reviled me. Outwardly, it almost looked the same as what Jesus did. 


However, that did not make me LIKE Jesus, but DIFFERENT from him. 

How? 

Because Jesus did not revile as an expression of his real self, the Word of God in the flesh. His relationship with his Father was everything. He never lost sight of who he was, and never wanted to be different than who he was.

For me, not reviling when someone expressed foul and abusive language was because I was too traumatized to speak. I was protecting myself from further reviling by keeping my mouth shut. It wasn’t even a conscious strategy, but the crushing of a wounded soul. I was not different from Jesus because I reviled when I was reviled, but because I wasn’t my real self at all. I was a silent shell of a traumatized child. And that realization made me feel genuine worship because of who Jesus is, and how he relates to me. 

When I take this further into what it means that, “when he suffered, he did not threaten,” it is not like one sinful and wimpy speck of dust trying to scare off a sinful and bullying speck of dust by yelling loud and threatening words. It was the Creator, the King of the universe, the Son of Almighty God, not threatening the sinful specks of dust who were crucifying him when he had the power to command their immediate destruction if he so desired.[1] 

And that brings us to the reason he was not drawn to revile or threaten even though he is the Lamb of God with the two-edged sword coming out of his mouth.[2] It was because, in his perfect knowing of what was good, and his perfect love of his Father, and his perfect enjoyment of righteousness, he found pleasure in continuing to entrust himself to his Father who judges justly. 

When Christians have this hang-up of bitterness towards abusive people, and this bitterness includes God who “allows” unjust things to happen, they are unable to follow Jesus’ example because they are unable to attach to the Father as someone who judges justly. Perhaps they believe that God will not judge at all, or that when he judges it will not be justly. Out of such wrong beliefs they hang on to their grievances as if they are the only person who knows the right thing to do. 

But when we look at our Savior who faced the mocking words, and the cruel beating, and the piercing with a thorny crown, and the injustice of judges who would not act justly, and the crime of his crucifixion, we see that he did not revile anyone because he was not a sinful man. He did not exercise his authority to call legions of angels to come and destroy the mockers and haters with a display of his glorious power because that would violate the timeless plan of God. 

Instead, he lived who he was. What he was doing was a greater expression of glorious and predetermined love than we can yet fathom. He was not even inclined to act like a mere worldling. He was so in love-relationship with his Father that his mind was in perfect peace and rest that his death, burial and resurrection would satisfy the justice of God so that God could express perfect justice in condemning the wicked and saving the poor in spirit. 

I cannot express how personally this is touching me to know that when I have not reviled someone whose foul and abusive language was traumatizing my soul it was not because I was a good man, but that I was too wounded to speak. When I did not threaten someone who was hurting me, it was not because I was a good man, but because I was too crushed inside to face what might happen if I dared to stand up to a bully. 

But when Jesus did not revile those who were foul-mouthed and abusive towards him, it was because he was holy and righteous as both God and man. When Jesus did not utter threats against his abusers, it was not because he was afraid of what they might do to him if he stood up to their bullying. He was already LETTING them do the very worst thing in the world to him! 

The fact is that Jesus had such a perfect attachment to his Father, and a perfect knowledge that his Father would not and could not act unjustly, that he could endure the very injustice of the cross that would satisfy the justice of God… AGAINST ME AND MY SIN!!! 

Which brings me to this grand conclusion, that “now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law,” because everyone God wanted as his child had already become unrighteous by the law. And now there is this “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe,”[3] because, “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[4] 

This morning, God ministered such things as this to my heart in a real and personal way. I face a world of injustices that are far worse than the stealing of our rights by governmental wickedness. Just as God describes in his word, even though the world “knows God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”[5] The reviling and persecution from the world is sure to increase as Satan fulfills the Scripture, “the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”[6] 

But “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”[7] I can now learn to never revile when reviled, but out of a heart that is becoming like Jesus instead of one that is severely afraid of pain. I can learn to respond to cursers with blessing instead of threatening, not because I am afraid of what will happen to me if a bully calls my bluff, but because I have a genuine desire to find the lost sheep for whom Jesus died. 

While I know I am a work in progress about this, my comfort is in God’s own description of what he is doing. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”[8] And that “degree of glory” will not only look the same as Jesus on the outside; it will also feel more like Jesus on the inside, and that is what gives me joy.

 

© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 



[1] Matthew 26:53

[2] Revelation 1:16; 2:16; 19-15; 19:21

[3] Romans 3:21-22

[4] II Corinthians 5:21

[5] Romans 1:32

[6] Revelation 12:12

[7] I Peter 2:21

[8] II Corinthians 3:18

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Uplifting Ministry of the Upper Room

 This morning it felt like God was taking me into the Upper Room with Jesus. I have read the history of this last Passover many times. I have preached through the teachings of our Savior on that night. I even washed some people’s feet on one occasion because it seemed to be the way I was being led to express my love to them. And I have often put into practice the meaning of the foot-washing lesson by serving the body of Christ in love. 

But this time is different. 

As usual, this coincides with things I am going through. There are personal things that are just a fact of life. There is our town that went through a disastrous flood-event a month ago that had us evacuated for almost three weeks and many in our community suffering the loss of home and/or possessions. And there is the simple fact that the word of God is living and active, and the Holy Spirit is constantly teaching us the multi-faceted applications of God’s word to every day and experience of our lives. 

This present journey through the Upper Room scene leading to Jesus’ crucifixion has me looking at Jesus through the eyes of his disciples. I wonder what his face looked like as he loved his disciples to the end even while about to become sin and a curse for us. When his face become troubled as he told the disciples that Judas would betray him, was it a look they had never seen before, or something familiar that made them immediately feel troubled along with him? 

On one side, it feels horrible to put myself in the disciples’ place. I can tremble with the awareness of being called a betrayer and wonder what it would have felt like to repent right then and there. I barely need to imagine what it would be like to be a denier and know that the Savior had just told everybody what I am really like on the inside. Being a deserter requires no imagination at all, but it does take a huge effort to look into Jesus’ eyes and consider everything he says that night as exactly what a deserter needs to hear. 

On the other side, there is a way to get to know Jesus in his love for me when he tells me that I am a denier and then I see his eyes searching me in love, and I listen to the words that come from his mouth, and I feel his love inviting me to the center stage feature of the cross where his love for me was demonstrated perfectly and completely forever. There is a way to know Jesus in his love for me when I have no doubt that I am a deserter, and that he has exposed me as publicly as he desires, and then I listen to what he is saying in wonder that this is what he would choose to communicate after telling me what a failure of a friend and disciple I am going to be. 

As I prayer-journaled through the Scriptures this morning, the one thing I could state as a certainty was that the promises of the gospel are all mine. I couldn’t seem to say anything about myself for certain, whether good or bad, but the certainty of God’s grace in the gospel is an indisputable reality in my heart. 

This means that, no matter how I feel about myself as a sinner and a failure, it is by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that I am saved. It is by a faith that God himself has given me that I attach to the grace he expresses to me in that superabounding way that is greater than all my sin, and failure, and… 

Well, let’s just say that I quite easily exhaust the thesaurus with nouns that describe my accomplishments in sin and failure and am almost moved to silence with the wonder of the nouns and superlatives that describe the glories of Jesus’ love and grace and mercy towards me. 

This morning, I found myself feeling very real with God about what he was telling me about myself. I was almost trembling with wonder that he enabled me to look at him through the eyes of each of the disciples and how they received what he was doing and saying. Things that would normally trigger me into hiding now have me trusting that if I will just fix my eyes on him, and consider him the way Scripture describes, that I will see the love of the cross for a sinner. And feel it comforting me where I mourn. 

As soon as I finished writing this as my sharing to our home church, a favorite old song popped into my head. It was the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”.[1] I looked on Youtube to see if there was something I could sing along to as part of my worship and this version grabbed my attention. I ended up crying in thankfulness all the way through it as it concluded everything God was ministering to my heart this morning. I hope it has the same effect of wonder-filled worship on you.

 


 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 



[1] O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, © Public Domain, words by George Matheson

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Jesus Glorified in the Worst of Betrayal

This past Sunday, our home church looked at the way Jesus in the Upper Room drew attention to Judas as his betrayer.[1] We considered the exposure of Judas in his act of betrayal, but also the way Jesus as head of his church is free to expose anything going on among his disciples any ways he sees fit. 

We see this in the way the apostles tackled issues in their letters to the churches, mentioning situations that needed addressing, and sometimes even giving names of the people involved. They show how Jesus continued to expose things both in the churches addressed, and in how God’s word speaks to local churches today. 

In the Upper Room fellowship we are working through, we saw that as soon as Judas acknowledged his intent to betray Jesus, and he was exposed in front of the other disciples even though they had no clue what was going on, the next thing we read is this: 

“When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.’”[2] 

“When he had gone out,” simply encouraged me that Jesus was in charge, not Judas, and not even Satan who had just entered Judas. It shows me how Jesus related to the group while Judas was there, and what he does once Judas is gone. Judas was included in the foot-washing that preceded everything because Jesus was showing his love to his whole band of disciples, and this love was expressed even to one who was actually an enemy in his heart. But the rest of the evening was only for those who were his true disciples after all. 

“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him,” blows me away with wonder that a scene that presents the worst betrayal ever is immediately followed by Jesus declaring his glorification. What Judas intended for harm, and what Satan intended for harm through Judas, Jesus knew that in the next three days he would be glorified as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 

“If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once,” tells me that Jesus has an undying desire for his Father to be glorified in his life. Our home church had been looking at this in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer for a while,[3] and now as we look at what led to that prayer, we can’t escape that the theme of the Father’s glory is in Jesus’ heart and ought to be in ours as well. 

However, the “glorify him at once,” is talking about the Father glorifying Jesus, which is also to the Father’s glory. And the “at once,” tells me that Jesus was in charge. He had just commanded Judas and Satan to do the betrayal quickly.[4] Up to this point, no one could touch Jesus because it wasn’t time. Now that God has decided it is time, Jesus will be glorified at once. The betrayal will not stop this, but it will work for the exact good of Jesus being glorified. 

What this gives me for my prayer time is that Jesus is showing his disciples our hearts today just as he did then. There is not one negative thing we see about ourselves, or one negative emotion we feel about anything we are going through, that is outside Jesus’ authority to work it for good. 

I am taking everything that is happening around me, being honest about all the things life is doing to me personally, and all the things I see going on in his people, and going to God like a little pestering child who will keep asking until I receive, keep seeking until I find, and keep knocking until the door is opened.[5] I would rather be exposed and have to grow up than hide in a world of self-protection where everything tries to stay the same. 

Our home church considers prayer meeting night a very significant aspect of body-of-Christ living. As I see how Jesus continues to relate to his church the way we see him in the Upper Room, I am confident I will know how to join God in his work as we gather for prayer, and to unite with each of the other members of Jesus’ body as we seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.[6] 

However, while we may only see one puzzle piece at a time for each of us, the picture God is weaving before our eyes is one of Jesus being glorified, and I want to be part of that with all my heart. 

 

PS: Facebook Version

When our town of Merritt got flooded out on November 15, 2021, the whole community was put on evacuation order because the sewer and water systems were severely damaged. This gave my family a few weeks away waiting for the word that we could return. During that time, I designed a template for sharing something each day on Facebook and have continued using it since we have been home. Here is how I shared about today’s lessons in a shorter form.  

One of the things about Jesus that has surprised me the most is that he is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses”. One way we learn how he does this is by looking at the things he endured and accepting that this means he sympathizes with us when we endure the same things. 

Many of us know what it feels like to be betrayed by someone close to us. However, many of God’s children don’t know how to attach to Jesus with their feelings of betrayal because there are so many negative emotions surrounding these experiences. Often, we imagine that God is not interested in such things. 

What we see in Jesus’ own experience of betrayal is not only the way God worked this together for good so that Jesus was glorified as the Savior of the world, but that Jesus now sympathizes with us in our experiences of betrayal and wants us to bring them all to him for healing. This post is an invitation to do just that. 

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 

 

 



[1] John 13:21-30

[2] John 13:31-32

[3] Later on in John 17

[4] John 13:27

[5] This is based on a mix of, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8), and Jesus’ references to us being like little children.

[6] Ephesians 4:1-3

Thursday, November 25, 2021

A Flood-Evacuee and What God Knows

As I write this, my family is on day 11 of being evacuated from our community because of flooding. We were not in the flood’s path, but the damage done to the water and sewage infrastructure required evacuation of the whole town anyway. We are very thankful for how God has provided for us, but experiencing cabin-fever from being away from home. 

My testimony for almost three decades has been that God speaks to his children through his word in the most real and personal of ways no matter what we are going through. The stage that is set by this present experience may be unique for us, but hearing God speaking through his word in the midst of it is no longer anything new.

Yesterday morning I began my time with God by considering how his thoughts must be magnificently different from mine. Knowing that I rely on what is called slow-track thinking while being oblivious to what my fast-track thinking is telling me is humbling. So much to learn.[1] 

This settled into considering that God knows. I love meditating on this even though I know I don’t know how his thoughts work, or how communication of thoughts happens between the Triune. As G. Campbell Morgan once said, “Out of wonder worship is born.” I love watching what wonder does to my spontaneous worship of the Triune God. 

With this setting the stage, I came back to the passage in John 13 about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I noticed that three times John tells us that Jesus knew something. 

1.     “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (vs 1)

2.    “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,” (vs 3)

3.    “For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” (vs 11) 

The knowingness of Jesus is woven through the introduction to this evening in Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, but also through everything he taught that night, his high priestly prayer, the Garden of Gethsemane, and everything to do with his crucifixion. 

What stood out from all this was that Jesus acted out of what he knew. Everything he did that night was on the stage of what he knew. That needs a whole sermon in itself! However, I realized right away that we already do this as well, we act out of what know, which is often just what we think we know. 

What pierced my heart was the awareness of how many relationships are being hurt by people acting on what they think they know as if there is no possible way they might be mistaken. This is the curse of self-justification, that we immaturely imagine that our view of things is the only one that counts, we believe we know more than anyone else, and so, when we act on what we imagine we know, our actions are very self-protective of ourselves and usually quite hurtful towards others. What I know about how the sark/flesh affects this, along with dissociation and enemy mode, clearly calls me to seek to know what Jesus knows![2] 

The phrase that stands out about the disciples in this regard is, “Jesus answered him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand’” (vs 9). I feel this way about our experience with the disaster in our community right now. There are so many things we don’t understand about rebuilding highways, how water treatment and sewer systems work and how they need to be repaired, and even how to cleanup a house after flooding without getting sick from asbestos, mold, or any other toxins that might be in the air or soaking wet belongings. 

But this is even more of a problem when we consider that we simply can’t imagine that we know as much as Jesus knows about how he is fulfilling prophecy, carrying out the plan of the Triune’s purposes, handling all the injustices in the world, and seeking and saving his lost sheep knowing exactly when the last one will be brought into the fold. 

The conclusion for me is that finding out what Jesus knows seems to be the calling on all of us who are his family by grace through faith. It is not like we will ever know as much as he knows, but that we can know what he is saying to us right now, we can know what the Triune us doing around us that requires our participation, and we can join them in their work as far as it involves our part of the body of Christ so that we can know the mind of Christ and act on what he knows. 

Because the focus of the foot-washing ministry of Jesus calls us to serve one another in love, opening our hearts to all the ways this can happen includes seeking to know the way Jesus knows. I don’t simply want to know information, like, “what would Jesus do?” I want to know relationship-realities that open my eyes to what he is doing so that I am joining him in his work. To know that his work will be serving others in love (even the Judases who might betray us), tunes my heart to spend more time in fast-track thinking that comes from my mind being set on the Spirit. 

The closest I have come to the parallel with Jesus washing his disciples’ feet was back when I was traveling to minister to our first home church in another community. On my drive, it felt like God was convicting me that I was to include foot washing as part of my ministry to the handful of people who were the core group. I did not know at the time that there was a Judas among us, but there is some comfort in making the association right now. 

I also did not know that this group would cut ties with us in a way that made Jesus’ experience of his disciples deserting him also add a measure of comfort (while knowing that I am never faultless like Jesus). It is significant to me that a decade later, this present journey through John 13 is showing me more than I was aware of at the time, almost like what Jesus said about his disciples not understanding things at the moment but seeing them clearly later on.

At the time, I was going through a huge battle in my mind because of the strangeness of the prompting to wash the feet of these siblings in Christ. I don’t believe Jesus was teaching us to keep washing each other’s feet when we mostly wear shoes and socks all the time. And it didn’t feel at all like he was telling me to start a new tradition for our home churches. It simply felt like he was doing something with this home church that would be helped along if the pastor would humble himself to minister to these people in such a visual expression of serving them in love. And so, I did. 

Afterwards, I discovered that God had been speaking to one of our women about the exact thing he was leading me to do. She was sure that God was doing something in relation to foot washing. She didn’t say anything to anyone, perhaps for the same reason I felt I should not discuss my side of things with anyone. But she was watching for it. 

At the very same time that I was on the verge of giving up on this idea because it felt so unusual and insecure to me, this person had discovered the water basin and towels I had already prepared in another room. I did not know this at the time. Afterwards I was horrified to think of the damage I would have done if I had disobeyed what the Spirit was leading me to do. At the same time, because I obeyed and joined God’s work, it spoke to this person very clearly about God’s leading. 

I do not know if anything will ever happen to restore us to the people who left our ministry. However, as I make another journey through the chapters of God’s word that describe Jesus’ suffering and death, I do know that God is teaching me to continue seeking the mind of Christ no matter how many betrayals, denials, and desertions I experience. 

As that relates to soon going back to a flood-ravaged community, I am sure there will be some acts of service required today with my family, and expressions of love to show community members when we get home. With that in mind, I am willingly surrendering to the Spirit and whatever he has to do to me to lead me into this work. Jesus is my example, and the Savior who makes it possible to be like him.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 

 



[1] Slow-track thinking is what we would call our conscious thoughts. It is the part of our brain we use to consciously think things through, or carry-on conversations, or write blog posts. Fast-track thinking is what our brains are doing faster than we can keep up. It is the way we have automatic responses to things we haven’t thought through. When we walk in a room and immediately feel drawn to one person while wanting to avoid another, we are experiencing the fast-track reading people and situations and reacting faster than our slow-track can process. Even if this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it’s just something I am now aware of about myself, and something that makes me marvel at the mind of Christ that is not limited to the functioning of our brains with all our corresponding baggage of thoughts and emotions that often seem to have a mind of their own.

[2] The New Testament is full of references to the flesh (“sark” or “sarx” in the original Greek), always as an enemy of life in the Spirit. When the flesh believes it knows something, it cannot conceive of God’s way of seeing things, but is convinced that its way is the right way. Dissociation is the ability of our brains/minds to separate our mind/emotions from traumatic experiences so we are not constantly living with the conscious awareness of our trauma. This means that a dissociative person will have an incomplete view of some situations while feeling like they have the whole view and the only view that feels right to them. “Enemy mode” is a new expression that summarizes what is happening in our brains when the relational-mode level of our brains turns off out of fear and we are unable to read situations in a relational way. Again, this view cannot factor in all the information of what is going on, reads everything as if it is dealing with enemies, and imagines its view is the best one (lessons from, The Joy Switch, © 2021 Chris Coursey, Northfield Publishing). What this means is that I must be far more understanding of why it is so difficult for people to agree on situations, and make the focus on each person trying to attach to the mind of Christ so that what he knows changes what we believe, how we feel, and what we do. Until we want to know what Jesus knows, we will have tremendous difficulty resolving relationship conflicts.