The Care and Feeding of the Heart: Who Would You Say You ARE?

24539_24_podcastWelcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing vittles cooked up to help you run the Godly and good race!

Today’s feast at The Training Table represents the fifth try, version, iteration of a menu for your heart [core beliefs], spirit [emotions], and faith life lived out, my fellow marathoners for Christ. I always pour all myself into the goal of nurturing REFORMATION, REVIVAL, and CONSTRUCTIVE REVOLUTION in the hearts of all whom God will place into my circles of concern and/or influence. But this week’s feast has been hard in the making…

Why? Because my own hardened heart is always hard in the softening!

While I began to walk down several roads towards the goal of offering The Beloved of God in Christ some revitalizing, sustaining Truth and Love of God to help you run the race (2 Timothy 4:7), I was “providentially interrupted” by a host of interactions with various people from all walks of life throughout the week.

In every case / conversation—sometimes blindingly obvious, sometimes lurking below the surface—the very same issue was rearing its “beautiful yet ugly head”: Beautiful to those who have faith; “ugly” or offensive to those who do not wish to honor God. Here’s the idea and the words that kept circling my heart as I worked through numerous conversations:

“Do you believe that God, The Great I AM, can rescue, or has rescued and empowered you,
to proclaim and live anew in your own spiritually reborn, newly created,
wholly adopted, utterly beloved… ‘I AM’?”

While trying to write this Training Table in the past few days, the numerous “providential interruptions” I had by way of talking to several, back-to-back [mostly very troubled] people in the past week… ALL of them resulted in this same existential yet highly personal question pouring down on my heart like I was lying beneath Niagara Falls!

“Do you believe that God, The Great I AM, can rescue, or has rescued and empowered you,
to proclaim and live anew in your own spiritually reborn, newly created,
wholly adopted, utterly beloved… ‘I AM’?”

God, The Great I AM, by means of the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on behalf of those who would repent of their sin and humbly beseech Christ to be their Savior [from hell] and Lord [by means of discipleship] of their life. In Christ, The Great I AM can first save and then free us to proclaim of ourselves, in Him,

John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
John 15:15 – As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 – I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 – I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 – I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 – I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.           

John 15:5 – I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 – I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 – I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13  – I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Romans 8:1-2 – I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 – I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 – I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 – I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 – I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 – I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 – I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

Please carefully consider [like you were handling nitroglycerin… it’s a life or death thing] these claims based on the unbreakable promises of God OF YOU as “I AM”! Or not… It requires that we are born again and have faith—it’s not another spin on reciting a self-help mantra.

The bible—the God of the universe Who wrote it by the Spirit and through men—is mercifully, alarmingly, hopefully [it’s what we want the most], historically, and relationally clear: God, The Great I AM has put a [THE] plan in place for you and me to proclaim our “own/personal” [imparted to us by God and His grace alone] “I AM!” There is nothing more temporally or existentially important than this.

You, “your I AM”, exists in the present time either as a reborn, new creation, saved-to-serve disciple of Jesus Christ OR as one who is standing in opposition to God… And lives each day with anxiety of the past, fear in the present, and worried about the future. Being completely accepted, astoundingly significant, and completely secure can radically reduce our anxieties, fears, and worries in ALL sorts of marvelous ways!

I believe that even though this pitifully shallow, privatized, busy-sick, and relativistic world we live in rarely provides us the chance to do so, it’s imperative that we be honest enough with ourselves to not just be remotely ready but excited to answer a request of us such as:

“Tell me who you are. Way, way in the deepest recesses of your heart… ARE. Try to begin just 10 sentences, or “proclamations” about who you are, that begin by your saying, “I AM ___________ . You’re allowed to use your NAME for the first one. But try to go deeper with each progressive, layer of the onion or truism about YOU.”

The “layers of proclaiming your I AM” might go deep enough as to elicit tears, Beloved. If we free ourselves to do so, these will always be an intermingling of tears of regret and tears of joy… Let it flow. Jesus wept everyday. He fully understands, sees you completely, and loves you radically. Sow your tears for the joy of yourself and others (Psalm 126:5). It’s all of who YOU ARE!

What an unspeakable praise it is that, by God’s manifold mercies and universal yet personal plan of redemption, we can take on anything… even death… in the imparted confidence of and in Christ that, “I AM…”




Enjoy. Employ. Amen.

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