Jesus can revolutionize your life and world view. The idea of grace in its fullness characterizes the very nature of Jesus and changes our concept of the worth of humanity. Our world view in the past has been filtered through religion, which tainted our ability to accept those that would not qualify to be a part of our family. All the while hoping that the outcast and the freaks would conform to our image so that we would be more comfortable with them among us. After all we don’t want that kind of person to representing us, right? How ugly is that, how sad, bland, boring and comfortable.
In the old covenant only the high priest could go into the holy of holies in the presence of God. The high priest were the very upper crust, the closest to perfect that existed. They were the only ones worthy to even attempt to meet with God and even they would drop dead if they did not fully qualify. How frightening, how intimidating, how confident, how self assured would you have to be to attempt a journey into the presence of God?
The magnificent exchange was that the very God that the high priest feared, the God that reigned down manna from heaven and whose presence lived in the form of Shekinah glory behind the veil had a plan all along to come to us. To go to the darkest places and the deepest earth to identify with us. The very God we feared became one with those who would never qualify. Because what we failed to admit is that no matter how hard any of us try, none of us can ever qualify. It is only by grace through faith in this man Jesus Christ.
So you see, it’s not a matter of qualifying to get to God, it’s a matter of God qualifying to get to us. Who am I to disqualify anyone? Who am I to claim Christ death returns insufficient on anyone’s behalf. God wanted us all along. He wanted us to admit our dependence on him all along. So if you are an outcast, freak or classified weirdo Jesus came to you, identified with you and brought you freedom, grace, and love. Not freedom from who you are, but freedom from having to be who you’re not. We are all dependent on him, we require him, we thirst for him and in him we find our life. Run to him, don’t be afraid!
Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Ephesians 3:19
Walking in the spirit doesn’t mean doing churchy things. Doing churchy things can and often is very very fleshy. You know as well as I that the more you do the more you feel you have to do. If you pray an hour you feel two is better. If you give there is always more needed and if you go to classes there is always another class to take. Then have you ever tried to step away from these things? Yikes watch out because forget what you have done it’s a perpetual state of do do and give me, give me, give me. This is the life of your everyday enthusiastic church goer. This life is exhausting!
When your churchy actions are done to gain something from God or even keep something bad from happening then you are depending on what you do and that is walking in the flesh. By definition walking in the flesh is dependance on you and your actions and walking in the spirit is dependence on Christ, who He is and what He has already done.
Walking in the spirit is very simply resting in the finished work of Christ that has already been given to you when you believe. That includes righteousness, favor and blessing. All of this in Christ now, today without doing a single churchy thing. It is faith and rest “in Him” and what He already accomplished. See “you” died with Christ (Colossians 2:20, Romans 6:8, 2 Corinthians 5:14) and then Galatians 2:20 says he gave us Christ life and it’s out of His life that we live. Do you think God is counting how many times Christ is going to church or taking communion? No way, Jose! And His life is your life. That is the life of grace instead of law.
This isn’t laziness or doing nothing, this is the capacity to actually be more productive doing what you were put on this planet to do. It’s the most natural way to live (as a spirit being) and it is all from a place of rest.
Now before you run to FB to set me straight, think of the story of Rachel and Leah. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and worked for seven long hard years to have her. In Hebrew Rachel means “ewe or lamb”. So Jacob worked for the lamb (see the picture). Only when you work to gain the lamb you wake up with Leah. What! After seven years of hard labor Jacob woke up on the wedding night with Leah. Leah in Hebrew means “weary”. That is a dirty rotten trick, but it happened. And that is what you get when you work for the lamb you get weary. After that Laban gives Rachel to Jacob and Jacob works seven years because he has her. So you can work to get and end up weary or you can work because you have and end up at rest. God’s plan is good!
This story illustrates to us that when you work to get you will end up weary. Or you can realize that the lamb is yours, that He loves you already and gave His life as you and for you and to you. The truth is you will get more done from love than from fear and obligation. It isn’t about your churchiness but about His life in you.
Pretty men in stylish suits
Dressed to kill with lights and smoke
Flashy people, pretty stages, perfect lives
I want to choke.
Oratory crisp and perfect
emotional, charismatic, convincing, loud
Golden chairs and purple curtains
White attire their coifs a shroud.
A fairy land of false impressions
set about as if it real
Pointing fingers, telling lies
Using Jesus with blood to spill.
Don’t judge my Father by these prophets
they have an image to express
Truth be told the work is finished
But their needs they must address.
No man, no prophet, no televised performance
If He could use a willing ass
Is needed in this life and purpose
So on that show I choose to pass.
Let us stop the masquerade
Strip it down and lay it bare
If what is left is Jesus only
then all your needs will be met there.
Jesus alone is all it takes
to change a world and set things right
Turn off the noise and lies and image
and rest in peace in Him tonight.
Here’s a bit of brutal honesty. Try as I may, I seem to say something dumb at least once a week. It’s not intentional. It’s born of frustration or emotion and although it’s hard to admit, sometimes it’s just ignorance. Am I alone in this? I think not…I hope not.
The most challenging times are in the passenger seat while my daughter is driving, or in a department store trying to convince her that the lesser expensive pair of sweatpants are equally as good as the ridiculously expensive sweatpants. Truth be told, the expensive sweatpants are probably better, but heck, they are sweatpants and they are ridiculously expensive! So in the heat of the argument I say something that seems appropriate to me but painfully hurtful to her.
Unfortunately my brain doesn’t register, “inappropriate” until she hits back with a verbal upper cut. Suddenly we both find ourselves suffering from emotional internal bleeding. Then it all goes quiet and I know I’ve done it again. I know I’ve spoken out of the heat of the moment instead of the truth.
Once the arguing stops, I explain my point of view. We argue some more and finally I apologize…again. I say “again” because this ain’t my first rodeo. Once we stop and listen to each other, I mean really hear each other out, it ends up in forgiveness. But there is still a deep sense of shame and regret that I’m not aware enough to avoid these mis-steps.
Then I think about my Heavenly Father and the fact that His plan made allowance for my humanity. As if He knew somehow that in the eons of time Wynema and Hannah would need a lot of grace. That because of the blood of Jesus I am allowed to make mistakes and my daughter is allowed to desire the expensive sweatpants and I am allowed to tell her “no”. The emotions of the moment are still real, the words just as painful. But at least I know it’s going to be good, it’s all ok. I think as His grace is working in me, it can work through me toward Hannah or whomever happens to need it at the moment. And hopefully through Hannah toward me who need grace quit consistently. I’m growing, she’s growing, all God’s children should be growing in Grace.
Exhaustion, busy work and emptiness, these are the feelings that I have had after years of being a christian; until now. I’ve been taught x number of ways to sanctification, x number of ways to get right with God, x number of things to do to earn God’s trust but no one ever told me, until now, that all of these are found in “Jesus”. Wait a minute, you mean that sanctification, righteousness and even perfection are all in Jesus, “yes”. They aren’t achieved after Jesus, you aren’t empowered to receive them after Jesus, they are found only “in Jesus”. Meaning, Jesus is our sanctification, redemption, salvation, perfection, righteousness…etc..etc..etc.. Meaning, when you got Jesus you got sanctified, redeemed, saved, perfected and made right! You are a current possessor of all you have been working your butt off to achieve (I Corinthians 1:30). Rest, now just rest in Him (Rom. 4). Sure we work out our salvation with reverence (Phil. 2:12). But that is just to work out of what is already in you. In the person of Jesus Christ we find all that we will ever need. What is required of us is to say “Thank you” and “Amen”. Now go live!
Just had one of those moments with Hannah that are priceless. Moments of deep conversation. I’m so amazed at her emotional awareness and tender heart. We talked about what it’s like in that deep pit of anxiety and depression as a teenager when you are so caught up inside yourself that you are afraid to speak or participate or even be seen. But inside herself she became acutely aware of what was going on around her. She made mental notes to herself about what she would never do and what should never be done to another person. What hurts and what heals.
Now that she has become able to see the beauty of life again she said she understands that things, in that state, are not as they seem.
We both recall the night when in a deep pit of depression Hannah reached out to some “so called friends” and they relentlessly pushed her to the edge via text messaging, telling her that she was just an attention whore and she wasn’t depressed. Hannah did the right thing by reaching out for help but ignorance told her she was faking it, to pull herself up and stop demanding attention. And it went on and on until my son stepped in and took her phone.
We got much needed help and support from our church family but we also got a list of things we could have done to allow the devil in-road to our daughter bringing this depression. I was told to see if I had any unconfessed sins or un-renounced involvement that could have brought a curse into our lives. So in an exhausting attempt to free her from this we rebuked, renounced, covered and confessed whatever we thought would work. There would be relief for a time and then it would come back.
Finally after loud times of asking God why us, we tithe, we volunteer, we are the faithful ones, why us? I cried, yelled, and after doing all I could do, gave up. That’s when my attention was turned back to Jesus. That’s when I remembered the cross and the finished work and I was introduced to teachers like Dr. Farley and Creflo Dollar who showed me the truth of the New Covenant. Suddenly I was quiet long enough to hear the spirit say take her out of that school and check her hormones.
There wasn’t so much a miraculous deliverance needed as there were physical needs that had to be met. Now that those needs are being addressed she is my beautiful baby girl once again. Smart, quick witted and intuitive.
Watching a YouTube video of a bunch of middle school kids abuse a 20 year old autistic man brings her tears. She mentions it over and over because it bothers her so badly. She said mom, how could anyone at any age justify such an act in their mind? We talked about how grateful we are to the internet because now, that behavior can be exposed. Understanding that middle school ignorance and religious ignorance are both equally as damaging has helped us to grasp the need for a true revelation of grace in everyone’s life.
When young people are taught Grace and the power of God’s plan of redemption for ALL who believe there can be a revolution of love toward others that can change the world. When the church realizes what really happened at the cross they would see that Jesus bore any and every curse for us and put an end to the curse mentality. This would change our ideas that God owes us something for the good that we do and that it’s not my sin that brought some kind of Godly wrath on me.
This new covenant revolution is necessary to see our world change. It’s this new thing called “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself”. Not because you’re taught to love as a rule but as a natural outgrowth of understanding. It’s the fruit from the tree of the life that is in our spirit, and it changes our lives in the most practical of ways.
September 11, 2014
What if I told you that God desired a Divine Romance with you. God’s very essence, His Spirit is the definition of what love is (I John 4). In other words if you want to understand love look at the character of God the Father in the person of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1).
So many of us think that to know God means to have religion, but it doesn’t. It means relationship, deep and intimate relationship, right where you are at this very moment in time. At this very moment, in whatever circumstance or state you are in God desires a relationship with you (Rom. 5:8).
Most relationships begin by the guy asking the girl out on a date and more often than not that includes a meal, you know going out to dinner. Well that is what God said to us when he said in Ps. 23:5 that He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. In the message Bible it says, “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies”. In other words he is inviting you out to dinner because he is in love with you and wants a relationship with you, a divine romance. The neat thing is that it says He does this in the presence of our enemies. He isn’t waiting until we have no problems, habits, attitudes or distractions, he says, “come to dinner with me I want to feed you something”. I encourage you to accept that invitation and let Him take you to places that you’ve never been.
As in any relationship romance begins with a meal, eating something, a delicious 6-course meal at a fine restaurant. In the Spirit that means that you develop your relationship as you feed on the Word, as you accept His invitation to know Him better.
Once you accept this invitation Romans 8:35 says that nothing will separate you from His love, and I mean “NOTHING”. So relax and enjoy your time with Him, let yourself go and enjoy your night out in your new found divine romance!
I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to just accept bad news without stopping to see what God says about it. I heard a great message this past weekend about how the enemy permanently tattoos our mind with lies when we allow him to. It was so interesting to hear that in order to get a tattoo removed it requires light from the outside and blood from the inside working together. In order to remove the lies that have been imprinted on our minds we must flood ourselves with the light of the Gospel (2 Cor. 4:4) from the outside and allow the blood of Jesus to change us from the inside. When the light and the blood come to together the lies are removed and we can walk as God intended us to walk. Wow, that is amazing news!
That message reminded me of when my son Benjamin was two years old and we went to the Dr. to have his two year check up. The Dr. told us that because Ben had an excessive concave chest, he was small for his age, and he also had gotten Kawasaki Syndrome (that they caught quickly, thank the Lord) that he would probably never be able to play football as a teenager or participate in any intensive sports. He also told us that most likely Ben would have to have corrective surgery on his concave chest when he got older. I remember my husband and I just would not believe that, we didn’t even entertain that thought. We have always prayed for our kids and today Benjamin has squatted over 800 lbs, he plays Varsity football for a huge high school in the state of TX and just made the regional track meet throwing shot put. He is having an amazing high school experience. And, by the way, his chest corrected itself. I am so glad that we did not take the prediction of our Doctor over the word of our Heavenly Father!
Don’t just except a bad report, don’t even except things that are below what God paid for at the Cross. His person and work gave us everything we need for life and Godliness according to 1 Peter 1:3-5. That doesn’t mean we will alway get everything we want and that life will be perfect, no, God said, that it rains on the just and the unjust alike Matt. 5:45. But faith is trusting God, NO MATTER WHAT. Don’t allow you mind to be permanently tattooed with lies instead tattoo your mind with the Gospel!
It all started one ordinary Sunday afternoon. Everyone coming proudly out of church dressed in layers of pastels and nylons. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself at all the effort put into this uncomfortable image of piety. And there he was this man that I adore and fear, this man I praise and doubt. It’s very hard to hear high and lofty words from the pulpit only to go home to see the humanity. I was always daddy’s little girl, and wanted desperately to please him but I came to the conclusion that as much as I would like to be perfect it simply could never happen. And I was ok with that, although he was convinced that I was settling, when I was only choosing to live and love. It was hard enough being a young woman without the added pressure of religion and unreasonable expectations breathing down my neck. I saw things so differently and in my heart I believed God gave me these eyes.
Do I dare to shake it up? Do I dare break the mold and see if what I have been told can stand the ugliness or the beauty of the world? I just can’t believe that God would be in nylons, I mean I choose to believe he would be on a Harley Davidson riding through the streets of New Orleans.
One day many years ago I chose to open my eyes and look outside of the clean white sheets of religion. I decided that if the cross was the real deal then it would work in the real world. I decided that I would raise my kids in freedom and love and with their eyes wide open to the real world. As a result, today I have a 15 year old daughter who sports piercings and enjoys various other avenues of self expression and yet she is the one who classmates can trust with their deepest darkest secrets. She is the one they go to when they are in trouble and yet she holds fast to her faith. She loves them and isn’t afraid of them and I am so glad she tells me their stories. I was raised to be protected from the world by going to church but she is being raised to know that she is the church going into the world and I am so proud of her! Freedom is a beautiful thing!
I see things different because I have gone outside of the stained glass windows. I have conversed with the drug addicts and held hands with the sons and daughters of poverty. I have learned that if you close your borders to the outside you will never have the necessary compassion that is required to change what needs to be changed. How can I have an opinion if I don’t have a relationship with those of other points of view, lifestyles, cultures and ideas. But if fear is what motivates me then I will remain in nylons, pastels and behind those walls and God will still love me but others who need Him will not know His love!
All of us live, to some degree, as Preacher’s kids. Maybe your’s isn’t of religion but perhaps of an ideology that you grew up with. Don’t allow fear to stop you from seeing the world with fresh eyes. God created us with minds so that we can think and He isn’t afraid of us using the tools He gave us.