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
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.
As a little girl I remember so well the desire to please my dad. I did everything I could to gain his attention and his trust. I craved that validation. Then in high school I did something I wasn’t supposed to do. He was so angry that he looked me in the eyes and told me that he was disappointed in me and could not trust me. It was a crushing blow. To lose something that I had worked so hard for and craved so much was devastating.
As a believers we sometimes view our relationship with our heavenly Father with this same kind of delicate frailty. We believe that those who pray the most and who stay the busiest “working” for the Lord have a better relationship with Him. He has to love them more. So we strive and we press in and we strive some more and we press in some more until we are burned out, spent, and anxious because enough is never really enough.
Then when you come to the end of the striving and you stop trying to be so perfect and work so hard you are finally introduced to your real Dad. Not the father of your particular religion, not the father of your interpretation of the scripture, but the God who is Love, that is your real Father. It is then, and only then, that you are able to relax because you realize that He isn’t waiting on you to get your work done. He has been waiting on you to realize that He already did all the work so He could spend His time with you. You see, it’s not about getting Him to love you. He IS love. Its really about you accepting that you are lovable because of Him. And in knowing that love, you are fulfilled in life instead of anxious. Enjoying Him and He you. That is relationship. That is love.
Ephesians 3:14-21; I John 4:9-10, 19; Romans 8:38-39; John 15:13; Romans 5:8
On this day darkness met light
Sin met righteousness
Life met death
A reconciliation of all things and all people into One
Not a sin forgotten
not a nationality left out
For God so loved the whole world
For God’s plan included the whole world
And into His Son would be placed all sin
In Him would be the final seperation
In Him would be all law exacted
In Him would justice meet love
In Him would the blood make its final payment
Darkness fell and the earth shook
The wages of sin were deposited into the bank of eternity
Making way for the gift of God to be withdrawn
Unto all and upon all them that believe
Days later Light broke through
Righteousness came forth
and eternal Life conquered death
What was without was placed within
What is now within is being seen
Out of death came Life eternal
and it’s exceedingly, abundantly above anything we could ask or think.
Heaven on earth, Heaven in earth
It is finished!
Wynema Clark 4/3/2015
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
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.