Tag Archive | identity

Pennies!

oldpennies
A granddad was showing his five year old daughter his porcelain collection and she was fascinated with the colours.  The granddad got temporarily distracted and at to momentarily leave the room.  When he returned he was shocked to see and hear his granddaughter in pain and her hand stuck inside a priceless vase. He tried to pull her hand out, no joy.  He tried all manner of lubricants to see if her hand would budge.  It didn’t.   He finally realised that he’d have to smash the vase, and so, reluctantly he took a hammer and freed his granddaughter’s hand.
What he saw next amazed him.
His granddaughter’s hand had made a fist and was almost white in colour.
fist         What’s in your hand?
She opened her hand and there was an old penny, which the girl had seen at the bottom of the vase, grabbed but could not get her hand back out whilst her hand formed a fist around the penny!  pennycoin
What she clung to eventually destroyed the surrounding environment
Her clinging perspective was catastrophic to her surroundings
What she deemed as valuable had destroyed what was ‘priceless!’
“What may we be clinging to that seems valuable, which might be  destroying that which is priceless?”
The penny and the fist!
The penny could represent many things
  • a mindset
  • a tradition
  • a attitude
  • a loss
  • a grudge
  • pride, vengeance, bitterness, offence
The vase for me speaks of the core people in our world, our family & loved ones.  It is difficult to watch someone you love cling to stuff that’s just not helping them.  In fact it is detrimental to their mental, emotional and relational health.
chinese_vaseThe intensity of clinging can sometimes be seismic to all that’s around us and affect the strength and integrity of the vase, the relationships that make up our core!
This week two politicians clashed and then both clung to the need for the other to apologise first.  It took the intervention of the leader and some key information being shared before one of the politicians apologised unreservedly.  At first, the ex-mayor of London said in effect –
when he apologises for what he said about me I’ll apologise to him!
 In this moment, the politician valued his pride and his will was clenched around his choice like an iron fist.
It’s logical that we cannot receive if our hand is full and that what we need to pick up, sometimes starts with putting something down.  Now, I’m not saying this stuff is easy because it’s not but that which is priceless is being forfeited if we don’t let go of what we deem as valuable: our pride, reputation, standing etc..
Jonah found this lesson out the hard way – fish puke is not an attractant!
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit grace that could be theirs.      Jonah 2:8
What Jonah was forfeiting was grace.  What he was clinging to is described as an idol, whose value was classified as worthless!
In today’s culture, particularly in the West, we have idle talk but not much talk about idols.
sumerian_idols
An idol is any person, possession or position, that we value and esteem above all, and from which we draw our sense of worth.
This might sound crazy but hear me out – some people draw their sense of worth and their identity and meaning from wrapping their fist around past problems, pains, losses, hurts, injustices, betrayals.   And in the same way an object tightly held in the hand will impress itself into the skin, leaving a mark, so it can be with us!   It makes its impression and until removed, leaves its mark but worthless means is as no value!  Therefore, it adds nothing of value to our lives.  No positives, no enrichments!
If these  ‘penny issues’ are clung to, they inevitably  become our hallmark: setting the standard and authentication of our identity
victim, betrayed, reject, loser, second, last, over-looked, abused, old, past it, lost it!
Victor Frankl never lost his hallmark, even when exposed to heinous and incessant evil.
Viktor_Frankl2
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl
A human being is a deciding being. Victor Frankl
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. Victor Frankl
I believe that our hallmark is not drawn from what we have, possess or the positions we hold or what we do but from being made in Father’s image. His hallmark, is the standard for our worth and value and authenticates our identity.  He never changes; life and people will and do.
Father never moves the goalposts!
His unmerited love and unrivalled power are always there, regardless. 
This is grace and He desires that it makes a lasting impression on us but it can be forfeited.  
The enemy comes to rob, steal and destroy said Jesus (Jn 10:9) both the the image they bear inside and them as an image bearer!
Is it time to fling and not cling?
Time to forgive and release ourselves?
Time to come back to grace and be stamped afresh?
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Identity Theft!

IDtheft     Identity theft is one of the fasting growing crimes here in the UK and the aim of the thief is to access what you already have, via taking your identity.  This aim and dynamic is the strategy of the enemy of our masculine hearts and soul: our Father given maleness!
We know that Jesus labelled the Devil, as a thief who comes to rob, steal and destroy.
Question: what thief breaks into an empty house?
Clearly, a stupid one but joking aside, Jesus is implying that we have ‘stuff’ that the devil wants to get his hands on and he intends to steal our stuff by accessing our identity.
So a fundamental question is: Who are you?
Twenty-nine years ago, after a very painful year of loss, I knelt down and gave my life back to the Father and I was identified as being born again.  I thank God for the love, care and support I received from the church family, however, I soon came to realise that born again was ‘overrated and understated!’   It became a catch phrase: often said but never truly discussed and so I started a conversation with the Holy Spirit, which is still ongoing!
That conversation began in John’s gospel and I was introduced to a powerful truth and dynamic: ‘power to become,’ and a ‘vein rich mine of identity!’   Jesus said, that when I gave my life back to Father, by receiving and believing in Him (John 1:12)
 
He gave me power to become.  Become what? A child of God.
I was now a child, a son of the Father and the Holy Spirit quickly moved the conversation on and led me to Romans 8:16&17.  Where I saw that He, the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
A thought and a truth exploded in my mind and heart –
 
the primary role of the Holy Spirit in my life is to help me with my identity!  Boom!!!  
Although excited, the Holy Spirit said there’s more read on!  Now if you we  are children, then we are heirs of God AND co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings!
As I pondered these new words of identity, the HS asked me a question: what would you say if a solicitor/lawyer knocked on your door and informed you that a distant relative had named you as a benefactor in their will!
There was an awkward silence, then I said –
What have I been left? How much have I inherited?
If as men we have given our lives back to Father, then our identity has been fixed by Him, and although being born again (from above) is the entrance to this new identity, it’s not where we stay.  We have to ‘mine the veins of being heirs and co-heirs!’
The enemy of our ‘Father given maleness’ works in the dark and his aim is to keep us in the dark.
In the dark about –
  • about who we are
  • who’s we are 
  • what we have already been given! 
Some say ignorance is bliss.  I believe ignorance is risk.
The dictionary defines ignorance as lacking knowledge, Father defines a lack of knowledge as being highly dangerous –
“my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” Hos 4:6:6
There are two words that encapsulate our identity as ‘sons who have returned:’   In Christ
In Christ is like a Russian Doll – these more to it than meets the eye!
Is it time to open up and identify with all He has given us?