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What Do I Have that I Have Not Received?

“Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him; the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; You do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health.”

– Psalm 41:1-3

A few years ago now I was sick with an unusual flu that impacted or triggered rather a fear of passing out, which led to me actually passing out. What was bad about this was that I nearly drowned to death in my vomit. My wife saved my life and got me on my side. She truly saved my life. She and a friend of ours worked on me with my stubborn resistance to going to the hospital and $60,000 later with shared costs among other believers (Christian Care Medi-Share), I was released with a vague diagnosis that doesn’t even show up on my medical record. Basically it was the fear of passing out that led me to pass out – my vagus nerve was triggered – and then I was dehydrated after all my insides wanted to be on my outsides. After having passed out and stopped breathing a few times, my body needed to be attended to and my fluids brought back up.

During this time of healing and during a few other much lighter episodes of such a concern coming back around (when I’d have a severe headache or flu), I’ve laid there and meditated on this passage. It’s not that I’ve been a shockingly altruistic person toward the poor, but God has encouraged me multiple times as I’ve come across this passage that I’ve gotten to love on “the least of these” (Matthew 25) and call them some of my closest friends through the years – the hurting, dying, broken, poor, etc. What’s interesting is that I genuinely don’t feel like I’m some impressive dude stepping/stooping down into a less than myself person’s life. I genuinely see Matthew 25 for instance from a different view than that. I see that we are looking up in a sense into Christ’s eyes when we step low and step humble day-to-day and care for those in less favorable circumstances than our own. My dad and I often chew on the line from the Word, “What do I have that I have not received?”

Here is the passage in context:

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers,[a] that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

May we as Jesus’ followers so humbly receive and give that we more and more realize our calling as conduits of grace. The more grace we get to pour out, the more we have effectively received and handled and enjoyed, but our path has been generous and truly joyful in the process! Our joy increases as we give. It is more blessed to give than to receive partly in my view because we are getting to handle all the more of whatever is a blessing to others in a given context.

If we are giving out food, we’ve seen how God gives food to the hungry and we get to see God’s joy and experience it as we see food bring health and calm to the souls of the hungry.

If we have gotten to encouraged the lonely and downcast, we’ve gotten to see how God’s smile and warm, loving presence brings such an uplifting and calm to the soul of a person feeling lonely.

Let’s dive deep friends into the joy of following the Giver Himself, the King of kings and LORD of all, the true Source of all good and hope and even eternal life!

My coach has been helping me with something I’ll share in closing. She’s not a believer as best I can tell and seems heavily influenced by new age thinking, and yet there are natural revelation items I’ve been able to take away and I’m routinely wrestling with what she presents both in coaching and in one of her courses I’m taking. She brought up a quote from Carl Jung where he says, “What we resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” The idea that’s been wrestled with is the realness so-to-speak of emotions. People want to validate their own and other people’s emotions and there is health in this, and yet to call the emotions real and objective truth unkind judgments seems to be the missing of a mark / an unholy thing. My coach and others would say I’m making a judgment here and that judgments are dangerous and unhealthy. I’ve wrestled with this with the Holy Spirit in prayer and come to a place of peace that judging people is not our place but making judgment calls is part of being healthy. Assessing things and evaluating things is important. Criticizing vs being able to critically think seems to be in play here. Paul makes it clear that God is the judge and that we are not to judge one another. For instance, a missing of the mark with Carl’s quote would be the fact that if we RESIST the enemy of our souls, he doesn’t grow in size but actually bends and recoils and backs away from the genuine believer. Cool? That’s an understatement. It’s TOTALLY COOL!

Why did I bring this up? Well, I suppose because this is a blog and not a sermon or book. I’m sharing something I’m learning about, which is emotional intelligence as my coach has been helping me to understand it, in the context of listening above all to the Word of God and to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. We want to RECEIVE CHRIST and RESIST SATAN. As my daughter on her own frequently says, just out of the blue here and there (and mind you, we don’t bring up Satan or the enemy very often in our day-to-day communication), “Dadda, I hate Satan.”

It’s so beautiful that my sweet and only daughter would routinely (roughly once a month out of the blue) bring up this sentence and state it so confidently, “Dadda, I hate Satan.” There is something holy there in my mind. There is something so encouraging there. We as a family routinely resist the enemy and see him flee from our home. He hates our home, our family, so it’s natural that my daughter must hate him and that’s part of why he hates us. He I’m sure hates that someone so tender and gentle and beautiful and sweet isn’t giving in to his temptations as much as he’d like. Certainly we have sin and even demonic influence in our home, but by God’s grace the general and daily practice is to RESIST the devil and see him flee and RECEIVE CHRIST and see our home warmed and growing in the presence of the Holy Spirit by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Last but not least I’d like to share a story as the floods of water pour over Central California. Last night was when we were hit the worst thus far and I walked through our town and observed large trees that had fallen – so far no homes seemed crushed, and the falling of the trees seemed to be from the saturation of the soil and the heavy winds. Here in Merced County we’ve seen some of our smaller towns entirely evacuated due to heavy flooding. It’s truly intense. Regardless, last night I went walking and really enjoyed a break in the storm and a very still and calm moment of praying and communing with the LORD. The wind calmed and I got out to the edge of our little town to stand on the edge of a vineyard. There I felt the LORD was telling me to take off my shoes and stand barefooted. I stood there and looked out at one side where I could see the glow of some of the larger cities and on the other side where I could see the vineyard and the calm view of those beautiful vines soaking and growing with all of this water. The LORD whispered to me the passage about one planting, another watering, but God giving the growth. My soul soared as I stood their with my feet planted on the road and such quiet and looked up into Heaven and felt deep in my soul the joy, deep joy, of our Savior’s death for us and life for us. I felt and still feel the gentle whisper of the Spirit saying to us as believers, “[I] the LORD gives the growth.” What a wonder that we are GROWING IN CHRIST dear brothers and sisters in Christ! And for all who do not yet know Christ, consider Him and consider redemption from sin and healing in the presence of the Holy One, the God of the Bible!

Much love, friends.


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