Give Me That Mountain

The Spirit of a Man Is What’s Born Again

Understanding Identity. Day twelve...

Some time ago, I was visiting with clients about two young boys previously living on the streets in Kansas City, whom they'd taken into their home to live as a part of the family. Just hearing that much of the story made me realize this was an incredible act of love. The two brothers had a new identity—from kids on the street with nothing and no one to look after them, to kids in a home with everything and caring people to look after them.

And then my clients told me the rest of the story. The brothers told their “new” parents to never wake them except at a distance; otherwise they would be in danger of being hurt by the boys, who were used to defending themselves on the streets from attacks while they slept. The boys also, even though they had complete access to the kitchen, would squirrel away food in their pockets at mealtime as if they might go hungry otherwise.

street kids

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When Jesus’ Words Meet with Our Obedience

Understanding Identity. Day eleven...

My dad was a farmer and had a whole lot more equipment than I did when I was getting started with my own family. So whenever I needed to repair something, I just made a trip out to the farm.

At that time the typical farmer's shop had a welder, cutting torch, drill press, band saw, dry cut saw, and other hand tools for repairing his machinery. And usually a farmer would have some woodworking tools as well. Because I'd learned how to use all this equipment, I didn't normally need Dad's help.

messy workshop

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To Move into God’s Identity Requires Us to Have Vision

Understanding Identity. Day ten...

I need a picture of what I'm putting together. Whether it's a big project or a small one, I need a picture. If there are no illustrations or photos, then I read the instructions and develop a picture in my mind.

If I don't have a vision of what I'm putting together and how it's supposed to work, I feel like I'm walking down the ridge of a roof in the dead of night.

tinker toys

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Feed the New, Starve the Old

Understanding Identity. Day nine...

“Feed a cold. Starve a fever,” is a familiar home remedy, and one that's easy to follow. If you have a cold, eat—even when you don't feel like it. If you have a fever, don't eat—even when you do feel like it. We have all kinds of proverbs to help us keep a simple focus on what we are trying to deal with.

I think Christians need a new proverb to help us keep a simple focus on discovering our identity: “Feed the new person you've become. Starve the old person you used to be.” When he or she is born‐again, every new Christian, in my opinion, needs to be taught this proverb.

fever

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Our Identity in Christ Doesn’t Happen Automatically

Understanding Identity. Day eight...

In the early seventies, I lived for a while on Halstead Street in Chicago, just north of the Cabrini‐Green housing project. If you're not familiar with the name, it was the poster child of all that was wrong with public housing in the United States. Home to as many as 15,000 people, it was one gigantic crime scene for many years.

I want to use the time I spent in one of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago to illustrate just how easily we can assume an identity based on the circumstances in our lives. (And yes, in the photo that is fencing covering each balcony!)

cabrini-green

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Only Jesus Can Remove the Guilt from Our Identity

Understanding Identity. Day seven...

“I'm just a poor old sinner saved by grace!” Do we really want to say that? Do we really want to hang on to that identity?

Isn't it somewhat pathetic to be saved by such an amazing thing as grace, and yet remain unchanged—that same poor old sinner I was before Christ? I think it's pathetic—if the only change I experience as a result of all that Christ did for me is a ticket to Heaven.

guilt ridden

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We No Longer Have to Identify with Our Human Nature

Understanding identity. Day six...

In the early 19th century, the city of Vienna in Austria had two maternity clinics where indigent expectant mothers could get free child delivery and care in exchange for being subjects for the training of doctors and midwives.

Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis was the “chief resident” of “First Obstetrical Clinic” in Vienna. He was severely troubled that his facility had a maternal mortality rate three times that of the second facility—in spite of the fact that the second clinic was overcrowded from expectant mothers who were doing everything they could to avoid his clinic.

washing hands

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What Is Controlling Us?

Understanding identity. Day five...

I was walking with some folks a few weeks ago when one person said, “My knees are telling me that it's going to rain.”

If this woman had an outdoor event scheduled in her backyard that evening, her knees would be telling her to make contingency plans so she could accommodate her guests in the house.

aching knees

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Who Defines Us?

Understanding Identity. Day four...

When Sherrel and I were first married, I threw on an old wrinkled t‐shirt and headed out to take one of our cars to the car wash. Before I could reach the door Sherrel approached me with her eye on my wrinkled t‐shirt, “Honey, we do NOT leave this house un‐pressed!”

My protest wasn't much at all, because it's nice to live in a clean house, always having clean and pressed clothes on my side of the closet. This is a part of Sherrel's identity for our family. In her mind, the Melin family doesn't go anywhere looking sloppy.

wrinkled shirt

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God’s Words Have Life

Understanding Identity. Day three...

Let's say an unmarked car pulls up behind me at a stoplight in my hometown. Suddenly, the music on my radio is drowned out by a voice over a loud speaker saying, “Please step out of the vehicle and place your hands on the roof!” Do I respond or do I ignore?

In looking at the vehicle through my mirror, I see no evidence that this is an official law enforcement vehicle—no extra antennas, no government license plates. So when the light turns green, I continue through the intersection, making sure I follow the traffic laws, and drive right up to the front door of the nearest police station.

police car in rear view mirror

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