Tag Archives: fullness in Jesus

Joy Came To Earth – Religion and The World Did Not Know And Still Don’t

Consider – before the Incarnation, God had not spoken to man (through the prophets) for over four hundred years! Selah

When God finally had something to say it centered on joy and a Person!

Even though this joy was for the whole wide world, joy happened in a small and ‘hidden’ way, consequently religion and the world didn’t know it and still don’t!

‘Hidden’ Joy

God’s way – small, hidden, humble.Mary Greets Elizabeth

Look at these small ‘hidden’ joy-filled encounters involving the Incarnation story. Note Greek meaning elaborations included.

  • Elizabeth shouted with clamorous screaming that was extremely boisterous with great emotion as she explained, upon hearing the sound of Mary’s voice, how her baby John in utero – leaped skipped, bounded with exuberant, wild, ecstatic, delightful joy! (Lk 1:39-45)
  • Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, extolled that her spirit was experiencing a gladness that was jumping in celebration! (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel, standing before the shepherds, reassuringly and excitedly declared – Don’t be afraid, I bring good news of great and large joy! It is a joy because of grace recognized. And this joyful news is for ALL the people!” (Lk 2:9,10)
  • Then suddenly the sky filled with a multitude of heavenly host, who brought the message to conclusion – “peace to the earth and goodwill, happiness, favor, and delight in men”. (Lk 2:13,14)Heavenly Host Declaring Peace and Goodwill Towards All
  • The Shepherds urgently went searching for the babe. Can you imagine their wide-eyed excitement and anticipatory joy at what they would find? Afterwards encountering, they spread abroad this joyful good news. Those who heard marveled and were astonished. Perhaps because it came from shepherds! (Lk 2:16-18)
  • The Wise Men, after their arduous long-seeking journey, when they saw the star standing still to indicate where Jesus was, rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. (Mt 2:9-10)
  • The earth was given a declaration of peace – i.e. a sense of welfare, to tie together into a whole, God’s gift of wholeness. Imagine the joy with that kind of ‘togetherness’! (Lk 2:14)

Joy Is The Focus Not Sin

When Jesus became flesh it was a happy, exuberant celebration. Joy for the world was the Godhead’s focus in coming to earth. Sadly, sin is religion’s focus for His coming.Oh The Joy!

Please realize Jesus did not have to come, He wanted to come to restore truth. Jesus came to show us who the Father really is and who we really are. (Jn 14:9 2Tim 1:9)

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world be saved, preserved, rescued on account of His Son. (Jn 3:17)

God’s joy over us propelled Him to come and remove the emptiness of sin that was keeping us from real relationship with Him.

Sin literally means ‘without form, having no substance’. Truly when we sin there is no fullness in it. It leaves us formless and empty in the long run.

God hates that emptiness. He originally made us to enjoy His fullness. Jesus came to restore that fullness. That is why God was so happy when, after 400 years, the fullness of time had come to reveal His eternal joy over us and restore access to the fullness.

Dig In

  • At times it can seem God is nowhere to be found, all is silent, life seems hopeless. But joy is coming. He might surprise you in a humble hidden way. Be open to believe (be persuaded) and receive, just like Mary. (Lk 1:38)
  • If you live in fear and guilt in your relationship with God, then know that is a religious relationship. Repent = change your religious mindset! Joy is a huge part of  God’s kind of relationship. Ask for the real deal. He longs for you to have it.
  • The Incarnation is huge – it means God enjoys our human ‘be-ing’. And God is not partial in His enjoyment. Consider – He made known to illiterate poor shepherds (the lowliest of people in that culture and time) something profound. In the darkness and quiet of the night He let them encounter  the supernatural and hear heaven-resounding news that affected the whole wide world. The shepherds didn’t grasp it all. But, they were one little hidden way He expressed His value of all mankind.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!

Oh the Fullness in hidden smallness!

More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

Religious Grace versus True Grace In The Old Testament

In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.

Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.

But there is a problem!

If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.

This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.

If Then says Religion. Really?_GrowingInFullness.com

 

‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.

The formula works something like this –

  • If God does this, then you must do this.
  • If you do this, then God will do this for you.
  • If you want God to do something, then you should do this.

So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)

As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.

Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)

  • The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
  • If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
  • He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.

Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?

Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!

Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)

“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”

In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.

Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.

Now that is true grace!

Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
  • God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
  • Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.

P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.

Satan Fell Like Lightening Names Written In Heaven Things Hidden From The Wise Part 3 Things Hidden from the Wise

Part 3 Things Hidden from the Wise

Luke 10:21

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” (NKJ)

Questions
• Why was Jesus so happy about hiding things?
• What hidden ‘things’ was Jesus referencing?
• Who are the wise?
• Who are the infants?
• Why did hiding seem good to God?

I used to think this verse basically meant that Jesus rejoiced because the Father had hidden the things about ‘Satan falling like lightning’ and ‘names written in heaven’ from the wise and revealed them to babes.

If verse 21 is the summary of the preceding dialogue with the seventy (vs. 17-20), then in effect Jesus would be telling the seventy they were babes. In fact, the Greek for ‘babes’ also means simple-minded, immature. Hmm, were the seventy offended?

Surely there had to be more to this verse.

Enter – mulling, waiting, looking-up Greek words. 🙂

Oh my goodness, how do I condense what I uncovered!

If I condensed, you might not believe my summary. You might say, ‘Well that’s just your big idea.’ Of course, you still can after reading what I concluded. But, for those who like the details, bear with me as I unfold Jesus’ ecstatic joy.

Hey, feel free to skip all the Greek meanings and ponder the blue summations.

Heads up – Jesus’ overwhelming joy is about revelation of Himself!

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” (Luke 10:21)

Greek breakdown

“In that hour”
• in – en – within, inside, fig. in the realm of, as in the condition or state in which something operates from the inside
• that – autos – self (emphatic), gives him (it) emphatic prominence; he, she, it, same
• hour – hora – the daytime (from rising to setting of sun), a time or period, season, a moment
Within Jesus’ self

“Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit” – Greek breakdown Joy Uncontained
• rejoiced – agalliáō – I exult, am full of joy, rejoice greatly. From agan, “much, very” and hállomai, “jump, leap”. Properly, getting so glad one jumps in celebration; to exult or boast because so experientially joyful.
• in – en – within, inside, fig. in the realm of, as in the condition or state in which something operates from the inside
• Spirit – pneuma – properly, spirit (Spirit), wind, breath
Jesus jumped up and down because He was filled with joy within the Spirit.

“I thank you Father”
• I thank – exomologeo – I consent fully, to fully agree and to acknowledge that agreement openly and whole-heartedly, to openly declare without reservation. This word comes from two Greek words ek – wholly out from, and homolegeo – to say the same thing about.
• Father – note the relational connection Jesus has as fully Man and Fully God’s Son
Jesus said, “Father, I totally agree, I openly and whole-heartedly without reservation say the same thing you are saying!”

“Lord of heaven and earth”
• Lord – kýrios – properly, a person exercising absolute ownership rights; lord (Lord)
• of – ho – the (of the)
• heaven – ouranos – (a) the visible heavens: the atmosphere, the sky, the starry heavens, (b) the spiritual heavens.
• and – kai – and, even, also, namely.
• of the
• earth – – the earth, soil, land, region, country, inhabitants of a region
Father, I also acknowledge that you are Lord and have absolute ownership rights of the heavens and of the earth.

“that You have hidden these things”
• that – hoti – that, since, because
• you have hidden – apokruptó – I hide away, conceal, keep secret
• these things – houtos – this, he, she, it
You concealed and kept secret this (i.e. Him, Me – the Word made flesh)

“from the wise and prudent”
• from – apo – from, away from
• wise – sophos – wise, learned, cultivated, skilled, clever
• and – kai – and, even, also, namely
• prudent – sunetos -: intelligent, prudent, wise, understanding, discerning; has to do with “personal” understanding that results from correlating facts (concepts), an understanding that works in keeping with one’s own perspective.
away from wise, learned, clever and those who think they understand, but it’s with their own biases of understanding and clever thinking
from the learned and clever, even namely those who use their personal understanding based on their own biases

“and revealed them to babes”
• and – kai – and, even, also, namely
• revealed – apokaluptó – I uncover, bring to light, reveal. Properly, uncover, revealing what is hidden (veiled, obstructed), especially its inner make-up; (figuratively) to make plain (manifest), particularly what is immaterial (invisible).
• them – autos – self (emphatic), gives him (it) emphatic prominence; he, she, it, same [note: same autos used in “in that hour”!]
• to babes – népios – unlearned, unenlightened; noun: an infant, child; fig. a simple-minded or immature personBaby Joy Overflowing
and namely You uncovered and brought to light Me to infants, the unlearned and the simple-minded.

“Even so Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight” (please note I am using the Greek format on this section as opposed to the NKJ translation to show the full meaning)
• even – nai – yes, certainly, even so; a particle of assertion or confirmation – yea, verily, truly, assuredly
• so – hoti – that, since, because
• well-pleasing – eudokía – properly, what seems good or beneficial to someone; satisfaction, happiness, “good pleasure.”
• was it – ginomai – I come into being, am born; properly, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point (realm, condition) to another; means “to become, and signifies a change of condition, state or place”; to complete, finish. (Note: ginomai is the word used for “the Word became (ginomai) flesh Jn 1:14)
• before – emprosthen – in front, before the face
• You
Yes, truly, certainly because You were well-pleased with Me (the One who came, was born into being as flesh, like a man) and I was before Your very face. We have always been close and I bring You great happiness and satisfaction. In Me, You are well-pleased.

Let me say it another way, with a very loose translation of Luke 10:21 in light of these Greek words and understanding their fuller meanings.

Within His self, in a certain moment, revelation washed over the Man Jesus. The result – Jesus got so glad it caused His to jump in joyful celebration. He was overtaken with joy and said “Father, you are Lord of heaven and earth – you exercise absolute ownership of heaven and earth! Father, I totally agree with You! I get it that you have chosen to hide these things (actually Me and who I really am) from the wise, the intellectuals, and those biased by their own take on things. I am in wholehearted agreement with You revealing these wondrous things of Me becoming flesh, becoming just like mankind – to infants and children, to the simple-minded and unlearned. Certainly, Me becoming flesh before Your very face was so well-pleasing to You. I am overjoyed with Who I am as God made flesh so all might see who We really made them to be. What a surprise it is to mankind that God would become so close! They can never figure it out with their minds, as Your love manifested as flesh will only come by revelation. In fact that is what caused Me to be exuberantly joyful – the Spirit’s delight in this mystery of God becoming flesh washed over Me as fully Man.

Wow!
Then Jesus goes on to tell the seventy that no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son, and to whom the Son wills (GR intend, to plan with full resolve and determination) to reveal the Father. (Lk 10:22)

Please note that the words ‘the one’ are added to this verse – i.e. “…and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (NKJ)  If we didn’t know the Greek meaning of ‘wills’ (intend, plan with full resolve) then it reads like only certain ones that the Son wills, will find out who the Father is.

The Father and the Son want all of us to know them! 

However, they are concealing a beautiful mystery of Love made flesh and the only way the secret is revealed is through revelation. The intellectuals and learned cannot grasp this kind of love and true identity.

So let go of trying to figure God out with your intellect and biases. Become like a child and be filled with wonder.

Just like the wonder of Christmas when  we celebrate God becoming flesh as a baby, just like us.

Oh, and the added wonder! “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn 1:14). Actually in the Greek ‘dwelt among’ means ‘within’!

Let’s wake up to the mystery already within and receive freely with jumping joy, just like the joy Jesus expressed. That is fullness.

Dig In
• When considering a passage remember to look for Jesus who became flesh, who became just like us, to show us who we really are – wonderful reflections of God. He is hiding to be discovered.
• If a translation seems to make God out as mean, hiding things, favoring certain people, demanding things of us – then it just might be worthwhile to look up a few words in the Greek to see what is really being said!
• There is an incredible joy that goes with God becoming flesh and it’s ours too. It is simply part of His fullness – children readily get that.

Did the Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Do you know the steps one must take to get saved? Have you been taught the “Four Spiritual Laws”? How about “The Romans Road”? Maybe the “ABCs of Salvation” is the better way to get saved?!

Yee gads, how did becoming a believer get so formulated? Man. Man likes to help God out.

Paul, the Apostle, knew none of those formulas. In fact his life is a prime example to blow up all our religious ways of ‘getting saved’ or ‘born again’.

Check out the  to video see if Paul really got born again the way we think it should happen –

Here is a free PDF download with all the details and scriptures –Did The Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Dig In

  • If any aspect of your walk with God involves a formula, steps, a system then beware. These man made ideas have no LIFE in them. Only Jesus is the life!
  • It was revelation that awakened Paul to who he really was, even in his mother’s womb. His violent action affected NOT the security of being in Jesus and Jesus in Him.
  • True salvation is not dependent on feeling bad about your sins and asking forgiveness. You were forgiven at the cross – all mankind was forgiven at the cross. Now to wake up to that powerful truth! Sin is in NO WAY  more powerful than His eternal love expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. There’s certainty and fullness in Christ’s final words –  “It is finished.”

What Does It Mean to Abide In The Vine? Part Two – False Vine Is Possible!

I ended my previous post with –  Next post we will find out what God had in mind about abiding! You just might be surprised!

In light of some fresh insights that happened yesterday, about Jesus’ passage of ‘abiding’, I need to postpone the surprise of what it really means to abide. I think these additional nuggets will wow you, like they did me.

So hang on for a series of good stuff about John 15:1-12!

The previous post, Part One, talked about things we do that enable us to abide in the vine. In and of themselves they can be part of growing in our relationship with God, but they are not what Jesus was specifically talking about when it comes to abiding.

This post, Part Two, exposes the false vine possibility!

Jesus said, “I am the TRUE vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” (Jn 15:1, Emphasis added.)

This implies there can be a false vine and even a false vinedresser!

The Father would not tend to a false vine, right? He’d be wasting His time and not being true to Himself. Thus, if we are abiding in a false vine, then that means we could have someone (or a thing) tending to us that is not a true vinedresser/husbandman/worker of the soil. Hey, this could also mean the possibility of  false fruit!Abiding In A False Vine or the True Vine

Gosh, what could a false vine possibly be?

  • a particular denomination/non-denomination/house church
  • a pastor (certain personality and teaching style)
  • doctrines
  • rituals
  • the Bible
  • ministry
  • other believers (AKA fellowship)

Am I saying these are bad? No. But, they can be if they are substitutes for the real deal. Taken to extreme, they could even be idols! That is when they are really ‘bad’ for us. Those things cannot produce fullness or fruitfulness, even though they might ‘feel’ or look like they do.

How to know if these things are not false vines:

  • they are not your identity or even make up part of your identity
  • they do not consume your time and energy
  • they do not lure or sway your thoughts and emotions
  • they do not control you (e.g. through guilt, fear, condemnation, manipulation)
  • they point you to Jesus
  • they help unfold the wonder of Jesus
  • they help you fall more in love with Jesus
  • they increase your love for all the ‘branches’

Obviously Jesus made it clear we are to abide in Him, and Him only. But that can seem nebulous, confusing, or difficult. How do you abide in something you can’t see? Then He talked about pruning, casting out branches, and fire stuff. Yikes!

So maybe this abiding in Him doesn’t look so good in light of ‘judgment’ that seems to be part of His telling us to abide?

Maybe, those substitutes aren’t so bad after all? They can seem to have an appearance of abiding, so isn’t that good enough? Then I don’t have to think about those verses of being cut off and thrown into the fire.

If you have any judgment notions about ‘abiding in the vine’ then please know religion’s ‘fallen man gospel’ has duped you. You are being deceived by false teaching that nullifies the Word of God.
(Mark 7:1-13)

Okay, enough of that religious mindset of hell fire, better watch out, naughty or nice junk! This kind of twisted and confused thinking has propped up our notion that God can be mean, even if He is joyful.

This false teaching actually promotes a false vine and leads to continued uncertainty in one’s relationship with God.

As true abiding unfolds in up coming posts you will see the tenderness, supply, nurturing, fullness, and joy of it all!

Stay tuned. You will never look at abiding as an uncertain and scary dynamic of Christian living again.

Dig In

  • There is an ease and a rest in abiding in the true vine. If you get uptight about abiding then just figure you have heard false teaching. Truth is on the way to bring you pure abiding.
  •  Scary prospects come with the traditional religious gospel message. The true Gospel has nothing but certainty, clarity, paradoxical and illogical grace, compassion, love that never fails, faithfulness that covers our unfaithfulness. Abide in truth, ditch the false uncertain junk.
  • Enjoy and receive from those ‘things’ that make Jesus even more real and nourishing. They can be an asset towards abiding in Him, and in Him alone. But remember true abiding is empowered by the Spirit of God. (1Jn 4:13)

If God Is Mean and Demanding Then Why Is He So Joyful? Part 1

If most Christians were honest, they would admit to believing that God can be (to some degree) mean, demanding, vengeful, judgmental, hard to please, etc.

Why do many have these thoughts about God? Religious doctrine and influence.

Religion has many oughts, shoulds, musts, dos and do nots. Straight from the, often seen as, sacrosanct pulpit, come misunderstandings about who God really is and who we really are. The fruit of these religious traditionally based teachings are confusion, striving, guilt, fear, condemnation.

If believers could express how they really feel, they would acknowledge

  • how hard they try to please God
  • how they want to please God, even if they think they don’t
  • how they wonder what will God do next to punish them if they step out of line –  the line that religion draws in the sand

Have you ever thought about the narrow line religious Christianity or churchianity draws? Jesus did say, “narrow is the way”. He was not talking about morality. He was talking about Himself being the only way, and that way leads to incredible freedom and fullness. There is no narrowness in Him!

Okay, let’s just imagine you are right – God is mean and demanding. If that is even possibly true, then what do you do with the multiple references about a joyful God?

Seriously, can exuberant joy and meanness be expressed together? Not.

1.       God’s Joy At The Beginning

 God had crazy joy about us from the ‘get go’, even before the get go!

Proverbs 8:22-31 alludes to references of Jesus being with the Father before He began creation, Jesus’ involvement in creation, and how Jesus thought about us.

Here is Jesus’ crazy joy:

  • vs.30 “I was beside Him as a master craftsman, and I was daily His delight, vs.31 rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.”
  • vs 31 key Hebrew words elaborated –
    • I was rejoicing, laughing, joking, playing, celebrating, smiling always before Him
    • I was rejoicing, laughing, joking, playing, celebrating, smiling in His inhabited world
    • My delight, pleasure, enjoyment was with and in the sons of men (mankind)

I’m thinkin’ He really likes us, all of us! We are His celebration! We make Him smile and laugh! We are His joy! We bring Him pleasure!

By the way, did you notice there were no qualifiers for His joy over us? We did nothing to make Him rejoice over us – no performance, no service, no sacrifices, no rituals, no nothing. From the get go He was already rejoicing.

Now, why do we think God is so heavy??? Actually, God is ‘heavy’, if you will, in His lightness!

Most of us have never got that, because religion does not know that kind of ‘heavy’ God. Religiosity is the heavy one in all its requirements.

2.       God’s Presence Is Joy

In Your presence is fullness of joy. (Psalms 16:11)

Hebrew elaboration:

  • presence means ‘face’ – there is a face to face rejoicing that He has for us, no long distance joy with Him!
  • fullness  means satiety and abundance
  • joy means delight, exceeding joy, extremely, festival, gladness, happiness, joy, mirth, pleasure, rejoicing

Most Christians have been taught you need to do some stuff in order to get into His presence. This is a false teaching.

His presence is already in you. He is already face to face with you!

Why don’t we get that? Once again, we need to get free from religious tradition, doctrine, and churchianity that promotes a distant, demanding God.

The truth is He can’t get any closer to you or deeper in you than He already is.

You are in His presence right now. His exceeding joy, delight, mirth, pleasure, and festival is yours for the enjoying. You don’t have to earn it, manipulate, or please. Go for it!

Well spring of joy! ©Nancy TeagueThe well spring of joy is in you. Tap into it! Open up. Let ‘er rip!

It’s okay to dance, laugh, joke, smile, be deliriously joyful. He sure is. And He is over you! Be the same. Remember you are a reflection of Him.

Dig In

  • One of the keys to tapping into and releasing His joy is to be honest about your thoughts of Him being mean and demanding. He is not mad at you about this. He just wants those lies brought to the light. He will laugh those lies right out of you.
  • God has been joyful before the beginning. You began before the beginning in His joy and He has never stopped being joyful over you. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now that is an eternal freeing truth!
  • Remember – it is impossible to be filled with joy and be mean at the same time. A human being can’t do that, and God can’t either! God is total joy. Ditch the ‘lie’ of meanness.

More joy points to come!

What’s With All the Joy Over Jesus’ Birth? Part 2 Mary Angels Shepherds Wise Men It’s For You Too!

Christmas Day is around the corner. Oh joy! Is it? For you?

Now what’s the big deal about joy at this time of the year? Well, something happened historically that  supernaturally released a lot of joy.

Isn’t it something that most of the world and most Christians have yet to grasp the magnitude and depth of deliriously expressive joy.

John the Baptist, Mary, a heavenly host of angels, shepherds, and Wise Men from the Far East had the pleasure of experiencing this seemingly silly joy. Actually I think they were allowed to tap into a Source of joy or rather, Joy tapped into them. Obviously they had no understanding of the FULLNESS of this joy unspeakable that showed up as a little bitty baby.

Hey, just maybe the Lord was trying to get us to see through these few, who had no idea what was really going on nor had they done anything to earn it, that excessive delight is available – for free! No conditions, no requirements.

What kind of joy?

We talked about baby John (the Baptist) and his wild joy in the previous post. To save time and words, here is a (Greek) nutshell explaining the kind of joy experienced by

  • Mary – her spirit rejoiced in God – exulted much, leaped, was so glad she jumped in celebration because of being so experientially  joyful  (Lk 1:47)
  • The angel (that showed up in the middle of the night in front of the shepherds) – he brought good news of large, great (in the widest sense) joy and gladness. (Lk 2:10)
  • The sky full of angels (that also astounded the shepherds) – declared peace to the earth and goodwill (happiness, favor, delight) in men. (in is the real meaning of the Greek word translated ‘toward’ in most versions!) (Lk 2:13-14)The heavens announce joy to the world! Illustration by Gordon Stowell
  • The shepherds – now there are no specific ‘joy’ Greek words regarding these guys – but can’t you just imagine the wondrous delight they encountered in hearing the angels’ news of happiness for and in all?  Obviously their haste to Bethlehem and their wide pronouncement to many speaks of some kind of uncontained excitement and delight. Then those who heard their stupendous news marveled and were astonished at what they spoke. (Lk 2:16-18)
  • Wise Men – when they saw the star they rejoiced with excessive, violent, extreme, great, loud, even fierce joy and delight. Now we are talkin’ serious joy overload here! (Mt 2:9-10)

Ever seen a Christian so ‘out of it’ with delirious, hilarious, Fierce silly joy uncontained! Photo by Crystal Munoz 'Chasing Beauty and Love Photography'uncontained, rip-snortin’, exuberant, excessive, joy? How about fierce and violent joy like the Wise Men experienced? Whoa!

Of course religious tradition would say that is not proper. There must be decorum and control. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone.

Does churchianity even know this kind of joy is part of our inheritance?! Pretty much, not. Hey, maybe a smile or a laugh, but not silly hilarious joy.

Do you think Mary or the Wise Men were worried about what other people thought of their extravagant behavior? Nope. They were in a place beyond that. And they didn’t even know the full story of what was unfolding with His coming! But we can!

Then why aren’t more Christians stupefied with joy? Religion.

You just can’t be religious with the kind of joy experienced by those above.

May this Christmas stir up in you a desire to know this JOY. May He overtake you with outrageous gladness!

Dig In

  • There is more to this joy than being exuberantly joyful. It also has to do with strength. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh 8:10)
  • Paul knew this joy-filled strength, even in the midst of a dark prison cell. (Php Php 1:18 2:17 3:1 4:4). Circumstances are not to control your joy level.
  • Increase your sensitivity to restrictions and expectations of churchianity and religion. They are joy killers!

What Does Peter Mean With Born Again?

Sorry to be tardy in getting out my next post! I’ve been steeped in trying to learn WordPress.org designing and plugins – in hopes of improving the look and features on my website and blogs. Arrggh! Talk about complicated. But, praise God, I found an easier solution. So my life can go on. BTW – hope you like my new header! It expresses some of the playfulness, liveliness, and joy in His fullness for us.

Okay, here we go! Back to the great topic at hand (a month ago) – what about this BORN AGAIN stuff!

Peter used the word born again

If your frame of reference and understanding is the traditional Church teaching on ‘born again’, i.e.

  • acknowledge you are a sinner and repent of your sins
  • ask Jesus to forgive you and cleanse you of your sins
  • ask Jesus to be your Savior,

then you would automatically think Peter is using these words to elaborate on how you got born again (AKA saved).

Many Bible translations interpret Peter as saying ‘born again’. Here are the verses:

  • 1Pet 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father…who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope… (NASB)
  • 1Pet 1:23  “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable…” (NASB)

If we take the Bible translators word for it (no pun intended) then we question not, because it confirms  what we have already been taught by the religious system – i.e. once we ask Jesus to save us then we get this incorruptible seed and have access to heaven.

In addition, since Peter and Jesus used the words ‘born again’ it shows they are in agreement with what we believe that word means. Thus we can go on our merry way knowing such agreement secures our traditional doctrine of needing to get born again, so we can be saved.

But, what if the ‘official’ Bible translations interpret certain Greek words through their religious  assumptions and doctrines of tradition? Jesus’ use of ‘born again’ and Peter’s use of ‘born again’ are great examples of that ‘what if’.

Peter’s unusual word for ‘born again’

Peter used the Greek word, anagennaó. He used it twice. He is the only one who used this word in all the New Testament!

It is worth noting that this word does not occur in Classical or Septuagintal Greek. This underscores the  importance of its rare use.

Did Peter make up anagennaó? Did he know he was the only one using it? I don’t know. But in light of its rarity, curiosity arises as to its true meaning.

The accurate translation

anagennaó – to beget again, from above

The break down of  anagennaó

  • ana  –  up, again (ana intensifies gennaó – emphasis mine)
  • gennaó  –  beget, be born, begotten, sired

Here are the verses with the actual Greek meaning in mind:

  • 1Pet 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has anagennaó (begotten/sired us AGAIN from up/above) to a living hope on account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
  • 1Pet 1:23  “…having been anagennaó (begotten/sired AGAIN from up/above), not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, on account of the word of God, which lives and abides forever.”

Peter is NOT talking about our religious traditional doctrine of ‘born again’ – how to get saved or how someone got saved through saying certain words or doing certain steps.

 What is Peter really saying?

Peter is extolling the eternal truth of our true origin and identity.

He is reminding us

  • God made us in His image – (remember there is only one Father of all)
  • We are begotten with an incorruptible seed that resides within each man
  • we were first begot from above
  • of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus – Nick you first came from above (and to get there had nothing to do with your good works)

What’s the big deal with ‘ana’?

Why would Peter tack on ana – emphasizing ABOVE/AGAIN – if he wasn’t pointing to something that was already there in the first place!?  That is what the AGAIN is all about!

From Above Again

Here’s the mind boggling truth – God did this AGAIN thing before the foundation of the world, before He even made man! Think – Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Sin was not an “Oh no!” to God. He dealt with it before creation.

God never changed His mind about us. God sealed the deal of His eternal intentions of having us always be a reflection of Himself before time began.

Paul echoes this staggering truth  – “He saved us and called (Greek invited,named) us with a holy calling…before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who abolished death and brought life…” (2Tim 1:9,10)  Press pause. This verse takes some pondering, because religious tradition does not teach it or believe it.

Jesus’ word anouthen and Peter’s unique word anagennaó echo across the ages and throughout eternity of who we really are. May you have ears to hear that echo in your heart.

Dig In

  • Nicodemus couldn’t grasp Jesus’ ‘born again’ because his frame of reference was of a corruptible seed that needed to be made incorruptible by doing good stuff and following the rules. If you think like Nick, ask Jesus to show you the incorruptible truth of who you really are – He really does want you to know.
  • Looking up Greek words in certain verses can enlighten you to real truth – Truth that exposes religious tradition that nullifies Jesus! (Mk 7:1-13)
  • If you cannot grasp, or even resist, that ‘all men have already been ‘born again’ – not to fret. As Peter said, this word lives and abides forever. It is not dependent on us getting it for it to be so. But when we get it, we get the pure Gospel – talk about fullness!

Does Religious Christian Evangelism Present The Wrong Gospel Part 2

In Part 1 the main focus of the traditional gospel message was explained – the gospel revolves around man’s sin/Adam’s fall. I call it the ‘Fallen Man Gospel’. The traditional gospel sets up many believers for negative consequences.

I see five harmful consequences that come out of the sin focused gospel. Today I will cover three of them.

1. Guilt and Fear Rule

Since the traditional gospel emphasizes you are a sinner and in need of a Savior, this sure stirs the internal pot of guilt, condemnation, and shame. Then fear is Guilt and Fear Ridden Sinner/Believerstirred up because of the prospect of going to hell, if you don’t ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus to be your Savior. For some fear can continue to hang around with thoughts of, “What if I blow it big time with God?”

The word says His perfect love casts out fear (1Jn 4:18), yet so many Christians still struggle with fear – fear of God Himself, fear of failure, fear of disappointing God, fear of rejection. Could it be the Fallen Man Gospel gives a distorted message of His love?

Even though the traditional gospel message preaches how much God loves you, there will be this sense that ‘you are less than’ until you get cleaned up. And if you ever get ‘dirty’ again, then you are back to being ‘less than’.

This is not to say that some will experience a wonderful sense of ‘cleansing’ when encountering Jesus for the first time. Unfortunately, despite this cleansing, a not quite measuring up will linger or resurface in many a Christian’s life. This should not be if we truly understood the fullness of the Good News.

2. Sin Consciousness Encourages Judging and Favoritism

The traditional evangelistic gospel encourages judging and favoritism by other believers. The sin focus sets us up to itemize and determine which are the worst sins or failures. This helps believers to judge each other by their behavior/sin and determine their relationship with God by it. This kind of judging can also set up favoritism among the brethren.

Then there is judgment on unbelievers. The sin conscious gospel helps some believers to conclude that those who do the ‘worse sins’ will not be saved. Since we tend to side with the used and abused victims, the perpetrators get little or no compassion. In fact, some believers think that those who do horrendous violence or harm to others, surely go to hell. Then there are those sinners who squander their lives in wantonness and selfishness – shaky ground for them. And of course those who never repent of their sins definitely do not go to heaven. So goes the judging and favoritism that unfolds for those who adhere to the Fallen Man Gospel.

But you know what?! Those who do this kind of judging and partiality cannot be judged either! We must remember they are ignorant of the truth of the pure gospel. They are simply deceived and swallowed up in traditional doctrine and its negative consequences. They are consequently set up to judge others and even themselves. Satan loves it, but God is faithful to set them free.

3. Perpetuates the System and Expectations

The traditional Fallen Man Gospel keeps the religious church system going. When the emphasis is on  neediness and shortcomings, then saved sinners (or yet to be saved attendees) need to hear messages (AKA sermons) on to how to continue to clean up their lives, become more effective Christians, and of course please God. Along with these messages will be many activities that believers should do. These help keep them involved in the system, but never coming into their true identity in Christ.

Isn’t it interesting that most believers, in spite of good preaching and hearing the ‘Good News’, will at some point in their lives experience – striving, doubt, confusion, times of dryness, apathy, depression, disappointment, weariness, frustration, burnout, failure, and of course fear and guilt in their relationship with God. Been there, done all that!

Horror of horrors, if they were ever to leave the system because of any of the above, then their very salvation could be at risk, so goes the inference from Churchianity.

In addition, the religious system releases a gnawing guilt that will hound those who leave the structure. Hmm, is there a ‘pre-guilt’ and ‘post-guilt’ at work among the brethren who receive the traditional good news?

Do you realize there is no guilt in grace, but there is guilt involved in law? “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”(James 2:10)

So, if you struggle with guilt, just know you are living under the law. Don’t be that guy! If guilt is directed your way by others or by the system, just know they are bound up in law and deceived. Don’t accept it!

What It Is Not and What It Is

In Christ Jesus there is no guilt, no fear, no judgment, no favoritism, no expectations, no sin, no works, no laws.

In Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is unconditional acceptance, utter delight over you, unspeakable joy, union, unconditional love, assurance, security, certainty, peace beyond understanding, free to love and be loved, free to know and be known, free to give and receive, free to be who He really made you to be. Now we’re getting to the truth! Oh the glories of the pure Good News!

Dig In

  • The Fallen Man Gospel is not really good news. It’s message does not allow you to be who you really are.
  • If you have succumbed to any of the above negative consequences please know there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to be stuck or caught up in them. Remember, He came to set you free!
  • God knows who we really are, and His Good News shouts that out.

Part 3 will look at two other negative consequences of the Fallen Man Gospel.