Saturday, December 26, 2020

Finishing the Race to Realness

I am unfinished realness.

 Lostness had cursed the image-of-God design of my being. Detached from my Creator, I could never be myself. Satan had successfully stolen, killed and destroyed the glorious creation of God in me so that I was a liar like him, a pretense, a sinful zombie masquerading as a living soul.

 Justification by faith in Jesus Christ returns me to the opportunity to be my real self. The moment that God made me alive in Jesus Christ, I was alive to healing, forgiveness, cleansing and walking in eternal attachment to God.

 Sanctification is transforming me from my sinful, sarky and worldly pseudo-self into my holy, righteous and like-Jesus real-self.

 Glorification is at the finish line of the race promising me that full restoration into every bit of the reality of being my real self in Jesus Christ, becoming fully like Jesus in every way the Triune intended before the beginning of time.

 My realness is unfinished. Bear with me. But don’t let me get away with unrealness.

 There is a wonderful gift of grace that all God’s children can be transformed into the same realness as Jesus Christ our Savior from one degree of glory to another.

 However, much of that transformation happens when we attach to one another in Christ in order that our relating to each other grows to be like the Triune relates among themselves.

 So, let us who are alive in Jesus bear with one another in the agapè-love that understands that none of us are completed realness. The best of our experiences of being ourselves in Christ will always leave room for improvement.

 This is why agapè-love must be central, because it covers the multitude of sins still in God’s children and makes the safe place for us to grow up.

 At the same time, let’s spur one another on to the agapè-love and good deeds that not only make us more like Jesus ourselves, but create the environment for everyone to mature into his image and likeness together.

 Being like Jesus is what the quest to be our real selves is all about. Come to Jesus, and he will return you to realness by making you every bit your real self in him.


© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8




Friday, December 25, 2020

Covid-19 Christmas: Grappling with Satan’s Successes and Our Conquering

So, it’s Covid-19 Christmas morning and the issue staring me in the face is, why was Satan permitted to sift Peter like wheat?[1] 

Which also raises the question, why was he permitted to torment Job? Why does God continue to allow Satan to have success in our lives whenever we refuse to submit to the Triune? Is it all the same thing of showing us our true soul-condition (a Deeper) in order to convince us to humble ourselves and get right with God (a Higher)? 

My thoughts went from considering what we are like as an embarrassment to God as our Father every time we give in to Satan’s schemes to what God shows Satan about himself every time we repent and come home.[2] 

Which brought me to consider why the pattern God gives is so effective: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”,[3] and, “Resist him, firm in your faith…”[4] 

“Submit yourselves therefore to God” and “firm in your faith” come first. “Resist the devil” and “resist him” come second. And “he will flee from you” is the result of this change. 

We do not win over our pet sins and demoralizing strongholds so that we can submit to God in faith. We are always told to submit to God in our hearts, right where we are, even in the middle of any sin whatsoever,[5] and in that faith-attachment to God, finding our strength restored in genuine attachment to Jesus, we can then resist the devil.[6] 

Why does Satan flee from the Christian he has had so much success with but who is now submitting again to God? Isn’t it, at least in part, because he sees this thing that is so wonderfully good, and so gloriously gracious, that he cannot bear to see God once again glorified in his erring child? 

The Psalm-writer declared, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.”[7] When the child of God who has just been caught committing adultery with the world repents (changes their mind) about what they are doing, draws near to the God they have sinned against, submitting again to their Father in heaven,[8] Satan sees the most remarkable expressions of the glory of God in his goodness expressed to his naughty children, his forgiveness magnifying the victorious work of salvation Jesus purchased on the cross, and the super-abounding steadfast love poured into the hearts of these disobedient, ungrateful and unruly children. 

Satan absolutely despises what God has done to gain victory over his successful scheme against Adam.[9] He is furious that his days of tormenting mankind are coming to an end[10] and that Jesus has redeemed every one of the people God has loved with an everlasting love. Even when Satan succeeds at getting the Christian to commit adultery with the world, he cannot take away the nature of God as good, forgiving and loving. He cannot do anything to diminish the gracious work of God expressed in forgiving sinful children because Jesus has borne the wrath of God expressed on every sin of every child of God to the fullest possible degree.[11] 

What Satan cannot get away from is Jesus’ pronouncement over his sinning brothers, “’It is finished!’ Their sin is paid for!”[12] Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,[13] and Satan has to see that glorification of grace every time he leads any of God’s children into sin. The loving, gracious and forgiving Father simply expresses kindness to his child, leading them to repentance,[14] and then forgives whatever they had done and continues his work of purifying them from all that unrighteousness.[15] 

At the same time, hanging over the whole scene is the picture of our coming glorification.[16] What Satan sees all the time is that God will carry on to completion the good work he has started in us.[17] God will make us fully like Jesus in his image and likeness as intended before the creation of Adam and Eve.[18] No matter what Satan does, and no matter how many times he causes a child of God to stumble, “if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”[19] 

Every time a Christian confesses their sins to our heavenly Father, Jesus Christ is glorified as our advocate, our one and only mediator between us and God, always working to perfection those who come to him in repentance and faith. 

What does this have to do with Christmas? 

Simply this: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,”[20] and, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”[21] He was given the name “Jesus” for the declared reason that “he will save his people from their sins,”[22] and Satan must watch that happen kazillions of times a day as God’s erring children keep submitting themselves to their heavenly Father, confessing their sins, glorifying God for their forgiveness, and renewing their walk with God to continue growing up to be like Jesus. 

The other day, while shovelling snow in front of our driveway, I saw a drug-addict acquaintance of mine walking by and greeted him by name. He hasn’t seen me for a long time so was initially surprised that I knew him. As soon as I reminded him of the circumstances of how we had met he immediately knew who I was. When he admitted that his struggle with addiction was as hopeless as ever, I urged him to call on Jesus to save him rather than try to get free in his own strength because, “‘everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”[23] 

We all need that same invitation all the time. It doesn’t matter if we are still dead in our trespasses and sins and need to call on Jesus for salvation,[24] or are already his brothers by faith and need to call on him for deliverance from a specific sin. “Everyone” means everyone; “calls” means calls; “the name of the Lord” means the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and “be saved” is the one and the same gift of salvation and deliverance given to everyone who receives Jesus Christ by faith. 

Satan was given his day in court, so to speak, to prove that Peter was not the man he boasted to be. Jesus already knew that. And when Jesus had finished with his death by crucifixion, his burial, and his resurrection from the grave, he restored Peter to a love-relationship with his Savior that was now based on grace instead of works,[25] and empowered Peter to proclaim the good news of great joy one particular day to such great effect that three thousand people repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior right then and there.[26] And Satan had to watch it happen! 

It doesn’t matter how many times or ways Satan has lured you into sin. Jesus is glorified in saving you from your sins and leading you to be like him one day because, “he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.[27] 

So, let us “confess our sins” to God because, “he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”[28] And, every time he does that, Satan will flee from us because he hates to see God receiving such glory for treating us so good.


© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


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] Luke 22:31-34

[2] The fact that God’s work in us is on display to the whole spiritual realm is stated in Ephesians 3:10 in the immediate context of Ephesians 3:7-13 and the larger context of Ephesians 3:1-21

[3] James 4:7

[4] I Peter 5:9

[5] Deuteronomy 4:29

[6] This is expressed in greater detail in Ephesians 6:10-20 where Paul talks about the success we can have against the devil’s schemes when we put on the whole armor of God together and devote ourselves to prayer.

[7] Psalm 86:5

[8] As James describes in James 4:1-10

[9] Genesis 3 describes how Satan lured Adam and Eve into sin, thinking he had destroyed God’s hope of having a people in his own image and likeness. God told Satan right then and there that his Son would come and crush his head (authority) through a means that would allow Satan to strike his heel (Genesis 3:15). In the crucifixion of Jesus (partially about what Satan conspired against him), Jesus was attacked, tortured and put to death in what appeared to be a lethal strike against the work of God. However, in this Jesus fully propitiated God’s justice (bore God’s wrath that belonged to our sins on himself) so that he could save completely all who trust in him.

[10] Revelation 12:12 in context of Revelation 12:1-17

[11] The word “propitiation” in the better English translations means just that (Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:17; I John 2:2; I John 4:10)

[12] John 19:30; compare with Isaiah 6:7

[13] Romans 5:18-21; 6:1-4

[14] Romans 2:4

[15] I John 1:9; compare this with Psalm 130:3 ~ “If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” (NIV)

[16] Romans 8:28-30

[17] Philippians 1:6

[18] I John 3:1-2

[19] I John 2:1

[20] I Timothy 1:15

[21] Like 19:10

[22] Matthew 1:21

[23] Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13

[24] Ephesians 2:1-10 shows the remarkable transformation of sinners dead in their trespasses and sins becoming alive in our Lord Jesus Christ by grace through faith.

[25] John 21:15-19

[26] Acts 2:1-47

[27] Hebrews 7:25

[28] I John 1:9

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

An Overwhelming Ripple

My time with God this morning was like a pebble dropping into a pond sending out ripples that exposed so many things God wanted me to meditate upon.[1]

The pebble seemed to hit the water as I was brushing my teeth and thinking about a couple of guys who had negative interactions with me in the past. As my fleshy morning mind was ready to rehearse how the whole ordeal affected me, it seemed like the Holy Spirit quoted a Scripture to me, “what is that to you? You follow me!”[2]

I knew right away that I was being given divine direction for the morning, partly to prevent me from ruining the first part of my time with God in distractions over sarky memories, and partly to lead me into something I always need help with (seeing my assignment purely without insecurities about what anyone else thinks). Since it was given to me then and there, I took it that I need that focus in the here and now.

As I began my prayer journaling, the context of this expression became my focus, and that is when I saw one ripple after another spread out from the initial thought. It seemed like the aim was to show me so much more of what was happening in that encounter with Jesus and his disciples in order to teach me the way God was ministering it to me for my growth in love, joy and peace.

One reason I’m sharing just this much is because I would love to see all of us experiencing the ripple-effect of spending time with God in his word and prayer, particularly on those mornings when we have more time over the holidays. There is a ripple-effect of delight waiting for each of us if we let the first thing God shows us turn into a deeper meditation on the word. The more thought we give to what God is teaching us, the more those words of Christ will mature our faith.

To combine this with another favorite illustration of mine, it is almost like the spreading ripples lay down concentric circles of puzzle pieces around the central thought so that a picture keeps expanding that takes our breath away with wonder.

It is obvious that Jesus wants my attention on what he is leading me to do as I follow him without hindering his work by concerning myself with what others have done or are presently doing. I suppose this is another expression of his work to lead us to deny ourselves, take up our own cross daily, and follow him no matter what he is doing with anyone else.

Because of this time with God in his word and prayer, I am now watching for ways to join God in his work that I can only do successfully if my eyes are on Jesus leading me and not distracted by what he is doing with anyone else.

I know that, as Jesus leads me, he is still leading his flock around me so that we are sharing together in his work. It’s just that my benefit to the rest of the flock will be increased by my pure-hearted attention to how Jesus is leading me so that what I do in ministry to them comes from Jesus himself, not my fears and insecurities of what they think of me.

I’m very curious what I will see today as my eyes are fixed on Jesus and his leading.




© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


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] As usual, Satan has counterfeited true meditation with his mind-numbing mirages that are all about emptying a person’s mind so Satan can do as he pleases with a person’s thoughts. True meditation is filling our minds with thoughts of God and his words, taking every thought captive as Paul described, and directing our hearts, souls and minds to eagerly and earnestly explore God’s truth in faith-attachment to God. The biblical concept is illustrated by a cow chewing its cud. Meditation is like eating the word, letting it digest a bit, chewing it over, letting it digest a bit, chewing it over again, and continuing this pattern (the four-stomachs is not a limit on how often we meditate on any particular aspect of what God is speaking to us about but an illustration of how meditation keeps drawing more and more out of the words we are meditating upon). The more we chew things over, so to speak, the more we get out of the word. And, since faith comes from hearing and hearing from the words of Christ, the more we get out of the word, the stronger and healthier our faith becomes.

[2] John 21:22 where Jesus was confronting Peter with his concern with what Jesus was going to do in John’s life.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

The Savior who Left Home to Bring us Home

As I continue exploring what it means that God wants us to receive his good news with great joy, I realize that the whole history of man is about our relationship with God. Everything is about whether we are attaching to God or not attaching to him.

Our identity in the image and likeness of God means in the image and likeness of a relational being beyond our wildest imaginings. We cannot understand ourselves without understanding attachment to our Creator. We are always for God or against him, nothing in between.

What has done all the damage in our souls that has resulted in horrible strongholds of self-protection is relationship problems with people when we had no relationship with God.

What we see healing childhood wounds, attachment-pain and sarky self-protection is people reconnecting with the Triune God.

The reason the good news of great joy is good news of great joy is because there is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”[1] It is not just about sinners being saved from sin and condemnation. It is about a Shepherd going out to seek, find and save his lost sheep so there can be one flock and everyone can be together forever.

As I consider how to lead people in living out either Christ-centered singleness or Christ-centered marriage in Christ-centered churches, I realize that the issues we face are not about knowing the right thing to “do”. The issue is always about how we are “doing” in our relationship with God. Marriage and singleness are not the primary focus; it is all about being Christ-centered in everything.

So, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin,”[2] because it is being done independent of our relationship with God. The reason that, “apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing,”[3] is because we are trying to live independent of God. The reason that, if we “have not agapè-love” we are “nothing”,[4] is because we are being unlike God. And the reason that anyone who “knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin,”[5] is because someone who is like Jesus will never fail to do what they know is the will of God because relationship with God is everything.[6]

I am often nervous and anxious about sharing how a new-hearted look at both Christ-centered singleness and Christ-centered marriage settles what to think about everything in between the two. I am always mindful of how growing in attachment to Jesus may result in losing relationships with people who don’t want him.

However, the only way it could ever turn out good for every one of us is if returning to the Christ-centeredness we lost in the Garden of Eden feels like finding a treasure hidden in a field, and that the ultimate joy of attachment to the Triune God is so precious to us that giving up anything else doesn’t feel like we are losing anything at all.[7]

© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


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] Luke 2:10-11

[2] Romans 14:23

[3] John 15:5

[4] I Corinthians 13:1-3

[5] James 4:17

[6] John 5:19 (in the context of John 5:1-47)

[7] Matthew 13:44

Friday, December 11, 2020

Minding our Peace and Cues

I love illustrations that help me picture how things work. This one has been a big help for quite a while.

It has been very beneficial for me to see the way our brains help our minds express themselves in the material world in which we live. Even the distinctions between the left and right hemispheres of our brains show the way our minds process both thoughts and feelings together. The necessity of good relationships to promote the healthy development of our brains also illustrates how important our relationships are in affecting what goes on in our minds. 

In the same way as our physical heart pumps blood through our body as directed by our brain, our soul-heart pumps beliefs and feelings through our soul as directed by our mind. This means that, whatever we set our minds on to believe and value will determine how it is with our souls.  

The adage, GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) expresses this, that feeding our minds garbage determines how garbagy we live. It is also true that when we feed our minds the life and truth of Jesus Christ, it determines how faithfully we live. This is why God’s Book is just as clear on the fruit that comes from setting our minds on the sark (flesh) as it is on the fruit that comes from setting our minds on him and his Holy Spirit.[1] 

Yesterday morning, Father directed my thoughts back to this expression from his word: 

You keep him in perfect peace

    whose mind is stayed on you,

    because he trusts in you.[2] 

What stood out is that there is a way of life in which God keeps his children in “perfect peace”. It is a relationship in which that perfect peace will follow us all the days of our lives as long as we relate to God in the distinctive attachments that belong to our relationship with him. 

The first issue is that this person trusts in God. It is “because he trusts in you” that the rest happens. Everything in life is about attaching to God by faith since our life comes from him, and we can only return to the meaning of life by faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.[3] Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and his peace is waiting to “keep” those who trust in him.[4] 

Second, because of this faith, the person’s mind is “stayed” on God. That means that, because of the attachment to God in faith, the mind is settled, or established, or secured on God. When we are in such foundational attachment with God, our heavenly Father keeps us “in perfect peace”.[5] 

Elsewhere in God’s Book we get these additional promises of God’s peace: 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.[6] 

This reinforces that what we think and feel in our minds affects how we relate to God which results in God’s peace guarding both our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (love it!). 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[7] 

Everything begins with what our minds attach to. When are minds are on the Triune God, not only does his peace guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, but “the God of peace” himself “will be with you.” 

Jesus said that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.[8] When our minds treasure what Paul describes, that is where it is “stayed”, or anchored, or attached like a branch abiding in the vine.[9] God has even given us men like Paul to exemplify how to do that. When we put their example into practice and enter the same relationship with God as they had, we experience the God of peace himself being with us always, to the very end of the age.

I hope we see the cues to experiencing this peace!

© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


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] Romans 8:5-6 in the context of Romans chapters 7 and 8; Galatians 5:16-26 shows this contrast very clearly as well.

[2] Isaiah 26:3

[3] Romans 1:16-17 shows this in relation to the necessity of the good news of the gospel.

[4] Isaiah 9:6

[5] Hebrew: “shalom shalom”, or, “peace peace”, with the repetition raising the bar, so to speak, on the kind of peace being addressed.

[6] Philippians 4:4-7

[7] Philippians 4:8-9

[8] Matthew 6:21; repeated in Luke 12:34

[9] John 15:1-11 in the context of the whole of John 15.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Pandemic Lockdowns and Good News of Great Joy

Does the good news of great joy that God offers the world triumph over the agony of a pandemic lockdown?


In fact, does the good news of great joy triumph over the possibility of contracting this virus?


Okay, let’s go further, does the good news of great joy triumph over the possibility of dying from covid-19? 

Yes, absolutely. 

Approximately three thousand years ago one of the most famous songs the world has ever heard was sung for the first time. In this famous song, the writer describes what relationship with the only true God is like using the imagery of sheep cared for by the Good Shepherd. 

After sharing a variety of scenarios in which this Shepherd cared for his sheep, he presents this worst-case scenario: 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

    I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

    your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me. 

Valley of the shadow of death facing us today? Check. 

Evil all around? Check. 

Hearts in need of comfort? Check. 

What is it that causes a person to “fear no evil”? 

Answer: The shepherd is with us. 

Where does a person get comfort in such a scenario? 

Answer: The shepherd’s rod and staff. 

What do the shepherd’s rod and staff give a sheep so that it would feel comforted? 

They give sheep the promise of leading, rescuing, discipline and protection. 

Jesus promised that he would lead his sheep, they would hear his voice and follow him, and no one would ever snatch them away from him. 

For this reason, that ancient song-writer concluded: 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of Jesus


The reason that the good news of great joy permeates Jesus’ coming into the world is because his death for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead, mean that he can save completely anyone who comes to him in repentance and faith. 

All who trust in Jesus have goodness and mercy following us all through life, every day of our lives, pandemics and lockdowns included. And these days of goodness and mercy will lead us to our Forever Home where we will live in the fullness of Jesus’ joy for eternity. 

Will covid-19 get me there sooner? 

Maybe. Who knows. 

What I do know is that I want you to be just as certain that a Forever Home with Jesus is yours as much as mine, and that Jesus’ goodness and mercy will follow you everywhere you go as Jesus leads us as the Great Shepherd of his sheep.

© 2020 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8


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.)