From Adam to Christ
From death to life
From old to new
From darkness to light
From works to rest
From law to grace
From judgment to righteousness
From exhausted to seated
From me to Him
From busy to content
From do to done
From anxiety to peace
From religion to relationship
From “what’s next” to “what’s finished”
From “have to” to “want to”
From temporal to eternal
From glory to glory to glory
Wynema Clark 5/26/15
The reason the world is turned off by Christianity isn’t because we, as Christians, aren’t good enough. It’s because we are very flawed but we present ourselves as if we are perfect, so we are fake. Glorified actors, who really have no idea who they are or what they really have to offer. Going through the motions. Doing what we believe looks like what a good Christian should be doing, what is acceptable in the religious community but to the world looks like fakery. Religion has essentially bound us to expectations and perfectionism. In some cases since early childhood. So much so, that our creativity and individual expression havent been allowed to blossom. The problem is that the world sees through it, teenagers see through it and anyone who thinks sees straight through this act. How are we as believers freed from expectations, preconceived ideas, perfectionism and being fake? Actually the message of the New Covenant authenticates the reality of our Christian walk. Grace frees you to be very real, because you see that it’s all about Jesus anyway, and now you can relax. Then you are faced with “now what” because for so long your actions have been determined by religion and now you are free to be you. All that you are left with is the expression of life that Christ can live through you and only you. Are you good with that if it looks different or if it sounds foreign to the religious ear? You are His workmanship, not the the religious establishment. What would that even look like? It’s a great big surprise but I can promise you that He will be seen. This is what the world groans for, not our fake smiles and politics. The world craves Jesus.
The majority of my Christian walk has been riddled with wild and exciting expectations. With every new revelation came a fresh sense of revival or rapture. Every unveiling brought a goal of something dramatic and big. I remember sitting at the edge of my seat as a young woman thinking that I could be one revelation away from walking right into Heaven. I’m serious. These expectations kept me hungry, in fact I think they were even a little addicting. But it wasn’t really a hunger for Jesus it was a hunger for something more. The promise of a big event, a big feeling, something more and something better. That was where the excitement was found.
Even in practical life there was an expectation of more. More money, more health, more happiness. I had been conditioned to expect it. But what I’ve learned is that more is never enough. The more you have, the more you want. And that mentality is exhausting. In it there is no contentment. In fact, contentment, is a bad word. But it’s not.
For me this New Covenant understanding has been something completely new, fresh and exciting, because it shines such a blinding light on the biggest event of all time, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It actually completely disarms my need for drama, because I can’t think of anything more dramatic than what has already been done. I mean God will do what He is going to do regardless of my expecting it or not, but if I don’t know what He has already done I am robbed of the joy of completion in that work, the understanding of the deepest kind of love possible, and the total freedom in who I am today.
If God never did anything else (and I am not saying He won’t) I could spend a lifetime utilizing what He already did. I believe we have only experienced the tip of the iceberg, the cherry on the top of the chocolate cake of redemption.
I am so thankful for what He did and this new covenant of grace that I am able to walk in every day. I am thankful for the freedom and peace that it has brought. For the surety of a love that is bigger than my mind could ever grasp.
Have you ever studied christianity as a way to live? If you’ve gone to church I’m sure you have. Often we hear ministers quote great educators and speak of social change. We have learned positive thinking techniques that are designed to lead us to health and wealth. Although all of these are interesting and have a degree of truth to them they are not really any different than any of the world religions. You can choose your philosophy or political view in the confines of your own head, but none of these are the gospel. Some of these are good news but they are NOT the gospel.
What sets the gospel a part from the religions of the world is that Jesus came to give us LIFE. He came to restore the missing part. No message of self improvement, social justice, or philosophy can put life into a human spirit. We stand as believers in possession of a treasure. A shining light of life to offer a world full of darkness yet we spend our time focused on self improvement, social justice and how to make and keep wealth. This leaves the believer without the basic understanding of the very treasure that now lives within them, LIFE. It also fails to offer the world the only cure for their darkness.
Life isn’t what you do, it isn’t how you live, it is Who lives within you. It is what makes this gospel unique. If the believing body knew what they actually possess now, which is the very life of Christ, their lives would be transformed from earthly minded bits and pieces of self improvement to a Heavenly rest within whatever social, political, financial situation they face. The indwelling Christ is the hope of glory. I feel like we haven’t even begun to touch on this Life that lies within and yet it is the greatest single revelation for social justice, self improvement and world change possible.
Have you ever tried to bake a cake with the wrong ingredients? It just never quite turns out. This example has been used by church leadership and ministries many times to evoke a need to re-evaluate what we are doing to see a desired end result in our lives. The other day I woke up thinking about this. As I lay in bed meditating on what that means from a new covenant paradigm I thought the most logical thing: If I am the cook then all this cake needs is Jesus to be perfectly perfect. Then the Holy Spirit stopped me and said why do you suppose that you are the cook in the equation? I had never thought that way before. I had always assumed that I had the major role in what goes in. But as I lay there in bed I realized that everything I need for life and Godliness has already been placed within me in Christ, so the ingredients are already there. Then as I rest in Him, He is cooking up His life and His nature through me that is as fragrant to a hurting world as baked cake is to a hungry nose. Neither the cook nor the ingredients are up to me the only thing I do is put myself in His hands and believe that He is cooking up more through my life than I could ever cook up on my own. I yield to His life within me, rest in what He has already done and then taste and see that the Lord is good. And when I say good, I mean Jesus, He is the “good” that will be seen in me and He is the fragrance that will be smelled on me. God really does have it in our lives.
2 Peter 1:3-8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21; Hebrews 4; Colossians 1:27; Romans 6:13; Psalm 34:8
When I was dating my now husband it was no secret that my dad did not like him. Dad was convinced that any young man who played college football and belonged to a fraternity could be after only one thing. He also hated that Jeremy was from a different denomination than us. I was always told that I should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Jeremy was a believer, by the way, he just wasn’t of the same persuasion as us. Because my dad was a Pastor of a charismatic church we often had ministers in and out and they often took notice of me because I was the eager and active daughter. One particular set of traveling “Prophets” came through and proceeded to point me out of the crowd and tell me that I was making a huge mistake dating Jeremy. That I would be choosing the wrong path if I continued this way. Because I was terrified of disappointing God and ruining my life by choosing the wrong path I was devastated and confused. I was in love but also, apparently outside the will of God, because the “prophet” said so. I had to break up with him, I couldn’t possibly choose Jeremy over the will of God. My heart was broken. I knew that Jeremy loved the Lord and that he was just raised different. After what seemed like weeks (maybe it was days that felt like weeks) I found out that my dad had lunch with these “so called” prophets and that he had mentioned his distain for Jeremy so this man had done my dad a favor. I was furious but relieved and ran straight back to what I knew was true regardless of the false prophets and the manipulative effort to maintain control of my life.
I say this because so many people are manipulated and controlled by men with fancy religious labels who are nothing more than peddlers of snake oil. If what you are listening to isn’t pointing you to Jesus and His finished work then run like the wind. If your Pastor or anyone with a fancy religious label tries to “thus say the Lord” be sure and check it at the door. If it’s not Jesus and the goodness of what He already did and who He is in you today then click delete and move on down the road. And if you are a minister and you use that office to manipulate and control by beginning statements with “thus says the Lord” you better be careful you may end up with a daughter who knows better and a son-in-law that will take her far away:) By the way we had a great 23rd anniversary yesterday!
There is so much debate about “rapture” or no “rapture”. There are hundreds of books predicting when and movies made as well as lots of money.
Before you start to label me, hear me out. This is not an article for or against a rapture. This subject has divided so many and I certainly do not want to add to this number. Whole churches have been built on this belief as well as on the arguments against it.
Here are my thoughts on the subject:
I am excited about the Heaven that awaits, I believe it to be a place that our human minds can’t even imagine. We Americans see Heaven as a place full of mansions and gold while in poverty stricken countries people interpret it as a place with huge amounts of food. People have claimed to have gone there and I admit I love to read those stories as much as the next person, cause it’s exciting. But the truth is, what you believe of Heaven isn’t going to change it. It is what it is and we will not know till we get there or till our eyes are opened. What we do know is that it is eternity with God, it is life with Jesus and it is one of two options we are given.
But you don’t choose Heaven you choose Jesus and in Jesus is this place that we are privileged to be a part of, not just when we die but while we live. My challenge is that instead of focusing on escaping to Heaven we focus on bringing Heaven to earth. Isn’t that what Jesus prayed, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. And in the meantime if there is a rapture we go, if there isn’t we are making a difference in this world. In Christ we have everything we need for tribulation, pre or post and come on, a lot of people would agree they have experienced plenty tribulation already. But Heaven is ours today in Christ and Heaven is ours tomorrow, because of Christ.
Let’s keep the main thing, the main thing, which is Jesus, and if you are in Him you are good. It’s really all about Christ in you the hope of glory. It’s about Him being seen in this earth through people.
Wynema I Clark