Category Archives: faith

God’s Not Dead 2 Movie Reinforces Misunderstanding of God’s True Identity e.g. God forsakes You

At least God’s Not Dead 2 movie is not as disturbing as God’s Not Dead Movie was. I did enjoy some of the sequel.

God's Not Dead 2 movie exposes religiosity

But there were several things in God’s Not Dead 2 that perpetuate the misunderstanding of God.

Here are some of the troubling religious points in God’s Not Dead 2, as I see it:

  • God, do not forsake me
  • Stand with the world and be judged by God
  • Come into my heart Jesus, forgive me of my sins – the traditional prayer of salvation
  • Who do you say I am
  • God is good, all the time God is good

Today we will look at being forsaken by God. I’ll address the others later.

Does God forsake you

Grace Wesley, the main character in God’s Not Dead Movie 2, was in a very difficult situation, fearful of the possible outcome, overwhelmed by the circumstances. Throwing herself on her bed one evening, in utter dismay she prays, “Oh God do not forsake me.”

Now obviously difficulties happen in life where it feels like God is nowhere to be found. But if we really knew God, we would never believe that God forsakes us. Religious Christianity preaches a conditional loving God, so it’s easy to think He would.

What Does God Say About Being Forsaken

Heb. 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Greek tense of Heb 13:5 means spoken vehemently, as if –  “look me in the eyes when I say this to you, I am dead serious”.  Now read the Amplified version with this intensity.

“I will not in any way fail you or give you up, nor leave you without support. I will not; I will not; I will not, in any degree leave you helpless; nor forsake you; nor relax my hold on your life; definitely not!”

Check out the next verse!

“So that, we may boldly (Greek: of good cheer, am courageous) say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear or dread. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:6)

Talk about confidently and happily knowing you are never forsaken!

Dig In

  • Paul knew the true God, hence he could speak of being hard-pressed yet not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. (2Cor 4:8,9)
  • Because religious Christianity believes in a ‘conditional unconditional’ loving God, confusion and uncertainty under gird many believers’ faith. No wonder some would think God just might forsake them. If you are one of those, please know God does not judge you for that. He wants you to come into full revelation of who He really is, then you truly can rest in His faithful and ever present care for you.
  • Jesus, Paul, and Peter looked forsaken. However:
    • Jesus said the Father has not left Him alone. (Mt 27:46, Jn 8:29, 2Cor 5:19)
    • Paul, while in prison, uses rejoice and joy eleven times in his letter to the Philippians.
    • Peter was sleeping in prison while bound by chains and guarded.
    • Oh, if Grace had just remembered that!

Miracles From Heaven Movie Showed You Can Lose Your Faith But Can You Lose Your Faith Really

Miracles From Heaven movie imageWe took three of our grandchildren, ages 11, 9, and 7 to the movie “Miracles From Heaven”. We all teared up over various parts of this heart-warming and true-life based film. God indeed can surprise us with miracles! It is worth seeing.

But, one of the points in the movie had to do with ‘losing your faith’ – to which I disagreed.

If we really know what faith is, then it is impossible to lose our faith.

In fact, if we understand what faith really is, then even in the most painful, confusing, disappointing, even devastating circumstances our faith remains solid.

What is false faith

Here are a few lies many believe about faith:

  • It is your faith – you must muster up faith to believe
  • If you do not have faith to believe in God, then you cannot be saved
  • Once you have faith you have to grow your faith
  • If you lose your faith God will be disappointed in you
  • If you lose your faith you could lose your salvation

What is true faith

To understand true faith you have to know its source and its meaning.

  • It comes from God. (Heb 12:2)
  • True faith is God’s faith. We have no faith on our own. (Rom 1:17)
  • He freely gives His faith – it is a gift. It has nothing to do with works. (Eph 2:8)
  • Faith literally means ‘persuasion, divine persuasion of the human heart’.

The true Gospel is about God’s faith in you. The Gospel is His full persuasion of what He believes to be true about you, even before time began. (2Tim 1:9,10)

The Gospel does not demand faith from you, it freely provides faith to you.

The point of faith is not what you believe about God, but what God believes about you.

Dig In

  • Religion said the mother had lost her faith, even the mother thought she had lost her faith. But in reality God remained fully persuaded about her. He never lost faith in her. And He knew how to woo her back to Himself.
  • What a relief it is – if we are faithless, He remains faithful because He cannot deny (contradict) Himself. (2Tim 2:13) When circumstances get overwhelming or confusing – remember to rest in His faithfulness to work it out – even in the midst of sorrow, grief, pain, loss.
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1) Jesus is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. His faith brings certainty. His incarnate faith is rock solid. Don’t let religion tell you it is up to you.

Meaning of Be Doers of the Word James 1:22

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (Ja 1:22 NKJ)

Most Christians read James 1:22 as their marching orders to DO WORKS.

We must DO things to please God, to prove we are believers, earn rewards in heaven, maintain our salvation, etc.

If you don’t DO – then figure you will be deceived about the security of your salvation.

Doer Versus Grace

How does grace fit in all this religious doing? It doesn’t.

What do we do with – being saved by grace through faith, and not by works, lest there be boasting? (Eph 2:8)

Remember, when Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What must we do to do the works of God”? Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (Jn 6:28,29)

Hmm, is ‘believe’ a work?

But James said we must be a ‘doer’. What do we do with that?

Religion came to the rescue to tell us what to do.

Traditional Religious ‘Doer’ Meaning
• Pray a lot
• Read and study the Bible
• Memorize scriptures
• Fast
• Worship God
• Weekly church attendance
• Serve and participate in church activities
• Be accountable
• Witness to unbelievers
• Get people saved
• Tithe and give offerings
• Observe the rituals
• Do good deeds

If the above list exemplifies a doer, then what is a hearer? Religion to the rescue again.

Traditional Religious ‘Hearer’ Meaning

Religion would say a ‘hearer’ is one who goes to church, listens to the word preached but forgets the sermon message and doesn’t personally apply its points. But they like to feel good or justified for a while from what they heard.

The religious institution would explain a ‘hearer’ is not committed to the Lord or the church.

Religion would say a ‘hearer only’ is a surface believer. Religion might even say a ‘hearer only’ is not a believer!

Religious Christianity values doers over hearers. They have to, it keeps the doors open.

To Do Or Not To Do_Nancy Teague GrowingInFullnessy

 

True Meaning of Doer and Hearer

To understand the ‘doer’ and ‘hearer’ words, in James chapter one, let’s look at their Greek meanings.

doer – Greek poiétés – (poy-ay-tace’) – a maker, poet, a doer, carrier out, performer

Poiétés is the word from which we get poet. So when you read ‘doer’ think of a creative person, a sensitive person, someone who has heightened awareness of themselves, their surroundings and others. They have empathy and compassion. Consider a performer – be it visual or verbal –  expressive, desirous and able to touch others’ lives.

hearer – Greek akroatés (ak-ro-at-ace’) – a hearer of, a listener to

A hearer is a good thing. Jesus said multiple times, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God Christ (actually ‘Cristos’ in the Greek = Christ Jesus). If we truly listen and hear we will be hearing of things about Jesus and listening to what He has to say about who the Father really is and who we really are.

The Father even said, this is My Beloved Son, listen to him! Looks like that Word made flesh has important things to say and for us to hear, not do.

Hearer Is A Doer

In truth, James 1:18-25 is a beautiful picture of a grace-drenched hearer-doer. When you really hear the fullness of the Gospel you can’t help but be a doer!

Dig In
• Many Christians struggle with am I doing enough good works or are they the right good works. This ‘works’ mentality is driven by fear and guilt. Not good. Not God.
• Believe in Jesus – that is the only ‘work’ Jesus Himself said is doing the work of God. To fully believe is an incredible place of trust, confidence, and rest. What a place to live from and ‘do’ from.
• You’re a poet and don’t know it! It’s part of the fullness of your true identity.

P.S. Next post we will go look more closely at the verses in James 1:18-25 which point to the wonderful law of liberty that releases us as true ‘doers’.

Robin Williams God’s Joy and God’s Care Even In Suicide

Robin Williams’ untimely death

Many around the world are mourning the tragic death of Robin Williams on August 11th.

The laughter he brought through his spontaneous creative antics, impersonations, and scenarios will be remembered and treasured by multitudes.

Actually the treasure of Robin will continue through the movies he was part of and his past public platforms. I am thankful. But there is even more to be thankful about concerning Robin.

Robin’s life and death shows us God

Let’s get it on the table – suicide does not mean hell awaits!

Despite Robin William’s depression, confusion, pain, and ultimately his death, God was so present in this man’s life.

Ah, some might say – “How could God have been present if Robin killed himself?”

Sadly, some religious folk believe if you commit suicide you go to hell. Boy, are those people clueless on God’s love and care, let alone the fullness of Christ’s work on the cross and understanding man’s true identity.

God was close to Robin

Let’s look at a few passages and highlight some of their Hebrew words. They will show God’s nearness to Robin Williams and anyone struggling with depression or think suicide is the answer to all their pain.

“He is near the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps 34:18)

near – close, draws near, kinsman
broken-hearted – break in pieces, collapsed, injured, shattered
saves – rescues, delivers
crushed – crushed (lit. powder, or fig. contrite); contrite means
regretful, remorseful, ashamed, stricken

“A bruised reed He will not break and a smoking wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” (Is 42:3)

bruised – to crush, oppressed, struggle, broke
(will not) break – break in pieces, collapse, injure, shatter
smoking – dim, dull, faint, fainting
(will not) extinguish – to be quenched, to go out

Please ponder these passages to grasp the absolute nearness and tenderness of God to those who are crushed like powder, shattered, devastated, hopeless, fainting, collapsed, despairing of life itself.

He will bring forth justice for those deeply hurting and confused. In fact, His justice of righteousness for all was eternally proclaimed through the cross.

Never ever forsaken but Religion says otherwise

God also said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake nor let [you] down, [relax My hold on you]. – Assuredly not! (Heb 13:5 AMP  – please note the Greek tense in this verse is emphatic and stated in a tone of intense conviction!)

But religious Christianity says God is distant and separate because of your sin – so much for ‘never ever forsaken’.

Religious Christian tradition teaches you have to do some things to bridge that gap. They say God’s love is limited until you say yes to Jesus and repent of all your sins.

The truth is there NEVER has been a gap, a gulf, or a chasm! The only gap, gulf, or chasm are lies we have believed about ‘a distant God who loves conditionally’.

The real truth – Robin and everyone else is loved with an everlasting love and drawn with lovingkindness. (Jer 32:3) Even if someone does not believe (or never heard) those words it does not negate the truth of them. Nor does it negate the ability of God to awaken anyone and everyone to the truth of those words.

Momentary suffering

I am reminded of Paul’s powerful words – “For I consider the suffering of this present time not worthy to be compared to the glories which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18)

This means glory was in Robin – treasure in an earthen vessel! He didn’t know it, because he didn’t know his true identity. But depression, confusion, difficult circumstances, suicide, or any form of death cannot keep our true identity from exploding within and upon us. God knows how and when to make that happen.

Robin’s suffering (worldly cares induced or lies) was actually momentary compared to the internal glories he now knows. Robin is so free to be all he was made to be.

Robin, God, and Laughter

On to a lighter note.

We are all made to reflect our Creator in one way or another, because we are made in His image and likeness. Particularly of course, in loving and being loved.  Other facets of our Maker are shown in our creativity, expressing of thoughts, feeling compassion, and laughter.

Do you realize human beings are the only beings in creation that experience laughter?

God is full of joy! He’s a happy God! God loves laughter and joking! (Ps 16:11  Ps 43:4  Is 51:3,11   Pr 8:30,31)

Someone once said, “The shortest distance between two people is a laugh.”

I wonder how many times Robin Williams closed the distance? Hmm, how many times did God use Robin to close the distance?

Thank you God, for making Robin.

The last laughRobin_Williams-Esquire

Even though there was no one who could make Robin laugh his way out of his depression, God was there holding him through his confusion and pain.

Some might credit Satan or demons in winning in Robin’s suicide. That kind of mindset does not understand God’s love – Love who is near to the broken and crushed. Love who won us before time began. (2Tim 1:9,10)

I have a feeling, in the bigger picture, God and Robin had the last laugh and are still laughing. Rejoicing in joy inexpressible and full of glory! (1Pet 1:8)

 Dig In

  • Nothing is hopeless. Remember – now abide faith, hope, and love. (1Cor 13:13) These three abide – that means all of these remain, they are not going anywhere. They are for everyone. Wake us all up God – there is so much you have for us – right inside of us!
  • Look for opportunities to laugh. Enjoy this God-given ‘pick me up’. Knee-slappin’ laughter does a body good.
  • Life can be tough and rough. But in the midst of the tough and rough, God wants to manifest incredible fullness to see us through them. (Rom 15:13) May you abound in fullness – it is your lot!

Why Did The Foolish Virgins Have To Buy Their Own Oil? Did The Foolish Virgins Go To Hell?

Why did the five wise virgins tell the five foolish virgins to go buy oil?

Those wise ones were loaded with oil. They should have shared, right?

Actually, they did one better. Far from being selfish, the five wise virgins were passing on wisdom and understanding they had ‘bought’.

Was it really oil the five wise ones bought? Or is Jesus trying to tell us something deeper about His kingdom in this parable? You bet. Figure deep and good.

Rejoice, this parable is not about judgment, who’s in, who’s out, you’d better be ready or else.

Check out the video for the REAL meaning of ‘get your own oil’ and ‘I don’t know you’. Be surprised and delighted.

 

Dig In

  • If your filter or mindset is connected to Old Testament judgments and requirements, then you will not see the Good News found in the Ten Virgins parable, or any of the Parables. Get free from that mixture of legalism and grace. Otherwise, you are limited to a little lamp and no jug.
  • Make the exchange – buy without cost. He has abundance for all. His provision of excess makes you ready for every challenge and seeming delay.
  • The Kingdom of God has to do with ‘knowing’. Knowing your true identity. The five wise virgins is a picture of those who ‘knew’ and knew how to direct the five foolish ones to know too. Do you know? Do you really ‘see’? He sure wants you to.

P.S.  Jesus wants you to know what He knows about the real you, and that He knows that you know, and that you know that He knows. ‘Buy’ without cost. Enter into certainty and fullness.

Who Are The Ten Virgins? What Do The Ten Virgins Show About The Kingdom of God?

Have you ever considered how the traditional religious punitive retributive mindset about God will keep you from understanding the kingdom of God?

The parable of the Ten Virgins is one of many parables that Jesus used to mystify us rather than inform. The Kingdom is so full of goodness for all that most were blind to that fact. Hence their conclusions (and ours) on this parable meaning would focus on judgment, punishment, and hell.

Ah, but there is good news in the parable of the Ten Virgins!

Check out the video and be surprised at what these virgins show us about the fullness of the Kingdom of God:

 

Dig In

  • Do you have your walk figured out, kind of like the five ‘foolish’ virgins? You have enough. Or do you think God only has a little bit for you? Or are you open to getting so full of Truth that you would be like one of the five ‘wise’ virgins lugging around a jug of oil?
  • Do you think God has delayed, is delaying, or will delay in things you are waiting for? God doesn’t delay. “Behold the Bridegroom!” HE IS HERE NOW! Fill up your jug!
  • Has your religious teaching put a hard edge on the parables and programmed you to see the negative? Do know you really can grasp the fullness of grace that is hidden within them. Repent! 🙂 In other words change your mindset and enter into the inclusiveness, joy, and fullness of the kingdom, of which the parables point.

God’s Not Dead Movie Has Two Misrepresented Scriptures

I have one more post about the Vine and the Branches, but wanted to insert this post before finishing that series on the Vine.

This post concerns a movie that  is presently showing. I was saddened by how the movie “God’s Not Dead” presented the Good News in two specific ways.

Two scriptures that were quoted and used in the movie, made for a conditionally unconditionally loving God.

The two passages that troubled me in the way they were presented are:

  • 2Timothy 2:12 “…if we disown Him, He will also disown us”
  • Isaiah 55:8  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways…for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Please check out this video to find out why I was saddened and what these verses really mean!

 

Dig In

  • Don’t assume what you’ve been taught all your life is ‘right on’ when it comes to saying who God really is and how He feels about you.
  • Remember to check out the context in a passage. There just may be more to the rest of the ‘story’.
  • Never forget – if we are faithless (in the Greek – if we refuse to be persuaded by what He says is true, by His faith), He remains faithful (fully persuaded by what He knows to be true, by what He knows to be our true identity before the beginning of time); He cannot deny/disown (contradict) Himself. (2Tim 2:13)  God is impartial, He changes not, He knows who He is and He knows who we are. He made us in His image and He doesn’t change His mind about that! And He knows how, when, and where to show ALL of us who we really are! Talk about certainty and fullness!

Does Faith Have Joy or Works?

We tend to think of faith as something we do.

In my former religious-traditions-walk I was taught there were things I needed to do to prove my faith and grow in faith. For example:

  • Memorize scripture, especially ‘faith’ passages
  • Declare scriptures out loud – the thinking is that if you speak it then it has more power
  • Fasting is necessary
  • Have quiet time and worship time
  • Pray in the Spirit often
  • Listen to faith teachings
  • Have positive confessions and don’t acknowledge negative circumstances
  • ‘Name it and claim it’

Looks like, to have faith, we must do something. It is up to us. Many Christians have been taught that without faith you can’t do mighty signs and wonder, can’t heal, and can’t advance the kingdom of God. He is looking for spiritual giants – after all there is a war to fight and we need more faith!

What a misunderstanding of faith!

Little did I realize, back then, all those ‘to do’ things were keeping me from TRUE faith and joy, and fullness.

Do you realize that joy is a natural part of faith?

Paul effortlessly and gladly demonstrated this faith dynamic in his repetitive words of, “Rejoice! Again, I say rejoice!”, while imprisoned in a dark cell. (Php 4:4)

Paul acknowledged the Philippians’ “joy of the faith”. (Php 1:25)

Then Paul extolled how he was filled with joy remembering the genuine faith that was in Timothy. (2Tim 1:4,5)

Check out the Greek to get the fullest meaning of Paul’s joy about faith:

Paul was

  • filled (plēróō  – to make full, complete)
  • with joy (chara – joy, delight greatly, gladness)
  • when he called (lambanó – to take hold of, to lay hold by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available)
  • to remembrance (hupomnésis – remembrance, recollection, putting in mind, a reminder
  • the genuine (anupokritos – unfeigned, without hypocrisy, sincere, no phoniness from a hidden agenda)
  • faith (pistis – faith, trust, belief, confidence. From root peithô – to persuade, be persuaded. Faith is God’s divine persuasion on the human heart. Faith is always received from God, never generated by us.)

that was in Timothy.

Was Paul working up joy when he was in the midst of prison? No! Paul’s joy flowed from the faith by which he was persuaded. He knew who he was in Christ Jesus, and circumstances did not alter his confidence, trust, and faith. Joy remained because it is naturally and spiritually a part of true faith.

Paul saw this same faith in Timothy. It was genuine. True faith has no pretenses, no striving, no performance, no requirements, no hype. True faith is rock steady, full of rest, and certainty. Now, who wouldn’t have joy with that kind of faith?!

If you have uncertainty in your walk with God, if you think you waver in your faith, then please realize you have not heard the truth about genuine faith. He wants to persuade you with the truth of real faith and joy. And He will do it because having His faith is knowing your true identity. He wants you to get it. He wants to whack you with the joy of faith!

Dig In

  • Paul said, “I live by the faith OF the Son of God.” (Gal 2:20, emphasis mine) Okay, it’s His faith. Then remember how much joy Jesus has over us? (Prov 8:31) His great delight came out of His faith about us. He was fully persuaded that who He made in His image was perfect. What a huge gift His faith is to us!
  • If you have gotten caught up in all the ‘works’ of faith that religion says you need to do, then ask Him to free you from all that misunderstanding and striving. Then enter into His joy of faith.His Gift of Joy of Faith! Receive! Go ahead, receive – there are no ‘strings’ attached, but hey, maybe a bow of ribbons for fun!
  • “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence on account of His faith.” (Eph 3:12) When we grasp we have His faith – talk about certainty! Let’s get certain! It is part of fullness upon fullness!