Tag Archives: God is relational

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!

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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.

What Did Jesus Mean Go and Sin No More?

Jesus’ last words to the woman caught in adultery were, “Go and sin no more.”

What in the world did He mean?

Before we get to that let’s review a few key points of Jesus’ actions from the post/video “Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

Jesus Stoops for the Woman Caught in Adultery

Jesus stooped down – Jn 8:6,8

  • ‘stooped’ – Greek bend, bow the head
  • He put Himself in a weak position
  • Jesus became vulnerable
  • made Himself lower than the woman caught in adultery, thereby making her above Him (remember He came to lift us up to our original exalted position in Him – Eph ??? 2:4-6
  • He was identifying with the woman who was being shamed, put down, and accused
  • by bowing His head in essence He was cowering, like one would do if fearful and ready to be harmed. He was identifying with this woman.
  • He even put Himself lower than the accusers and essentially implying stone Me! I will take the blows for all your accusations towards her.

Jesus wrote on the ground  – Jn 8:6,8

  • Greek ‘on’ – properly, into – literally ‘motion into which implying penetration’, union, to a particular purpose or result
  • by writing in the dirt He was prophetically showing His oneness with humanity. The Creator of mankind became flesh and penetrated the dirt from whence we came. A prophetic union had taken place!
  • Getting His hand ‘dirty’ showed He had no aversion to mankind.
  • Greek for ‘ground’ means earth, soil, land, inhabitants of a region. It is also the same word used to describe Adam/mankind, i.e. “of the earth” (1Cor 15:47)

Jesus raised Himself up – Jn 8:7,10

  • ‘raised’ – Greek raised Myself, look up, am elated
  • a picture of His resurrection after He had stooped to identify with mankind
  • in raising Himself up Jesus got face to face, eye to eye – not only with the accusers the first time, but then with the woman caught in adultery. In those connections He was demonstrating to them their worth, their true identity, and the relational essence of their being with God.
  • a picture of the Godhead’s elation over the restoration and reconciliation that They knew was coming. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Note: when Jesus called her ‘Woman’, He was using a word that also means wife or my lady.  He was referring to her with respect. There is even an implication of the Bride of Christ with this word.

 Religion’sGo and sin no more’ meaning

  • Sober up.
  • Don’t you dare blow it again.
  • I have high expectations of you, in fact I demand perfection.
  • You need to try harder.
  • Don’t disappoint Me.
  • For all I’ve done for you, now you owe Me.
  • I don’t condemn you this time, but if there is a next time don’t expect such leniency.
  • It’s moral behavior I want, so be good.

Remember – Jesus prefaced “Go and sin no more” with “Neither do I condemn you.”

 Neither in the Greek is a big word. It means – neither indeed, not even, moreover not. It introduces a statement whose negation totally invalidates and rules out the statement that precedes it.

In other words, Jesus is saying ‘no condemnation allowed from anyone’ – even though the law says there should be condemning consequences, even death!

Jesus’ ‘Go and sin no more’ meaning

Therefore My lady –

go (Greek – move from one destination to another, depart from here and reach a particular destination)

and (indeed, even, moreover, also)

from (away from)

now (just at hand, immediately, now in light of what has gone before)

no more (no longer)

sin (without a part, a share; properly having no share in, without substance or form)

My loose translation based on insight into the Greek words:

‘My lady, your destination is not to be stoned, you have a better destination. Go away from what is at hand. Go away from what just transpired with all its accusations and legal requirements. You have a particular destination to reach so move to it. Leave the past behind. No longer be without your part and share of what I have for you. Stop believing lies about yourself. Repent, change your way of thinking. No longer stoop to a lesser identity. I did not make you to be formless but to have substance – to have significance, value, respect. Be who you really are! You belong and we are one! I rose up to show you how elated I am over you. So go your way, free to be all I made you to be. I made you for fullness of being – being My fullness in your own unique way!’

Can you just imagine the transformation that happened to that woman? She encountered the God of the universe, the God whose name the religious people would not even pronounce, the God who looked just like her – looking her in the face, eyes to eyes – saying in essence I love you, I value you, never will I condemn you, go and be who you really are.

Hmm, did she walk away with her head held high, a smile on her face, a skip in her step, and her eyes bright with who she really was? I’m thinkin’ so. She just faced truth and heard truth that set her free – free indeed! Gosh, imagine what all those accusers and onlookers thought of that?!

 Dig In

  • No matter what wrongs you do or mistakes you make, God will never ever condemn you. He specifically came to show you how valuable you are to Him, that you have always been precious, and never deserving of condemnation and judgment.  By the way – sin was judged, not mankind. (Jn 3:17  Jer 31:3  Heb 9:26  Heb 10:10)
  • You are never stuck in sin. Begin to realize He lifted you out of that formless place. Go and grow in revelation of the beauty of your being that began before time began – and BE IT! (1Tim 1:9,10)
  • Jesus ‘stooped’ below us in order to ‘raise’ us up to His level. Oh the glory of His inheritance in us! (Rom 4:25  Eph 2:6  Eph 1:18)

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.

“Heaven Is For Real!” Movie – The Case for Nearness and The Supernatural

Heaven is for real! You bet it is!

The movie, “Heaven Is For Real!”, is heartwarming and stirring. It stirs one about the substance of faith, shallow beliefs, confusion about who God really is, and confirmation of that other truer ‘Reality’.

Just remembered my other confirmation! I forgot to mention on the video about my grandmother, at age 91, dying at the nursing home while eating her lunch in the cafeteria. She was by herself at the time. When the nurse noticed her slumped head, she went to check on her and felt no pulse. They quickly wheeled Grandma to her room. The nurse began to check her heart and vitals to confirm she was dead.

All of a sudden Grandma swung her arm and knocked the stethoscope from the nurse. Scared the living daylights out of the nurse! Grandma’s first words were, “I saw Ernest! I saw heaven! It was beautiful!” Here is my grandma, suffering from dementia, but she was clear as a bell about what she saw. She saw her deceased husband who had died about 16 years earlier, and she saw incredible beauty. You can’t tell me heaven is not for real! By the way my grandparents had been married for over 60 years. Cool, huh?

Now why would God do that with my grandma, and to realize she wouldn’t die for another five years? I don’t know.  But it sure blessed my dad some forty plus years ago. In fact Dad can still get choked up telling that story. Hey, by the way my dad is 92! Another cool.

God has so much for us here and now, and in the future. He doesn’t want us living in doubt, unbelief, anger, resentment, confusion, or fear.

Speaking of fear, little Colton said, “There is nothing to be afraid of.” One of his big take aways from his encounter with Jesus and Heaven. Big truth in that statement.

Check out the video for my thoughts and confirmations that this true story- based movie declares.


Dig In

  • God really cares and God is really involved in our lives. His involvement is part of our fullness.
  • Let the children come to Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven. Don’t be afraid to be a child (again).  Mt 19:14
  • Receive His perfect love, you will experience freedom from fear and freedom to love freely! 1Jn 4:18,19

 

Abide In Him, His Words Abide In You, Ask Anything, It Will Be Done! Is That A Formula? You Can Really Ask Anything?!

Have you ever asked God for something and expected Him to answer the way you asked?

Have you ever asked God for something and He didn’t grant your request?

Have you ever asked God for something and He gave you an answer you didn’t want? At least you thought that was HIS answer?

Have you ever thought you were doing all the things you thought you were supposed to do in order to get your prayers answered? Ever been disappointed with that kind of thinking? Do you know that is religious thinking?

It sure looks like Jesus gave us a formula to get our prayers answered. But is that what He was really trying to tell us in John 15:7,8?

Check out the video to learn more –

and/or download the free PDF supplement Abide in Him, His Words Abide In You, Ask Anything, It Will Be Done? Is That A Formula? You Can Really Ask Anything?

Dig In

  • If you are caught up in formulas, steps, check lists – in order to do it right or please God, please grasp these are not life giving and are not ‘have to’s’.
  • God is really into abiding. He does not want to be #1 in our lives. He wants to be ONE with us. Let Him show you what abiding really is and that you are already ONE with Him without doing anything!
  • As you rest in His kind of abiding you will find your desires/requests/prayers moving to a whole new place full of life, freedom, certainty, and trust.

Christian Identity Crisis Affects Certainty

Ever had an identity crisis?

Do you know for certain who you are? Do you know for certain who God says you are? I’m realizing many Christians have an identity crisis, including myself! We just don’t know it!

Towards the end of December 2012 the Lord caught my attention with the TV advertiser’s phrase, “The new normal is uncertainty.” It prompted the two previous posts about uncertainty/certainty. But little did I know over these last three weeks since the second posting He would be depositing in me clearer understanding of certainty as a Christian. That’s why it’s been a while since my last post. I am being overwhelmed with liberating truth!

As I am grasping more of what Jesus did at the cross I realized my list of ways  that help us be ‘uncertain’ are easy to do, because of a Christian identity crisis. Very few Christians really know who they are in Christ Jesus or what really happened at the cross.

Now realizing there are some inaccurate things (according to the Word) in my last post, I am excited to make corrections and share the wonders about His scandalous grace that are being unfolded to me. By the way, that is an encouraging aspect of the Lord – there is always room to grow and change. In fact, for all eternity we will be discovering riches about Him. Actually we are to discover and live in some of those riches here and now! (Eph 1:17-19)

Do you know that much of what has been taught or modeled in Christianity today keeps us in a place of uncertainty? In fact it promotes a place of separation. An illusion of separation from Him, that is.

To illustrate – how about the way we pray. We still consider Him as up there, out there, or somewhere. We think we have to reach out to Him, even find Him!

Reaching Out

Sometimes we ‘reach out’ and ask, “Where are You?! Can You hear me?” Maybe if we shout? Maybe weep? Plead and beg? Fast? Maybe worship more, pray more, do more?  Then He will hear and answer?

Why do we think that and do those things?!

Hmm, this brings to mind some phrases I remember praying with other fervent-hearted believers  – “Oh God, don’t pass me by!” or “Oh God, don’t pass us by!” or “Oh God, have mercy!” This makes me chuckle now. What an identity crisis we had! The Bible says, “He is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us.” (Eph 2:4) Scripture also says that it is according to His great mercy that has caused us to be born again to a living hope. (1Pet 1:3)  In fact, His mercies are new every morning! (Lam 3:22,23) So why would we cry out for mercy, for goodness sake?!

Now here is a big part of the Christian identity crisis – many believers think they are just ‘sinners saved by grace’. We still believe Is. 59:1,2 is true in our walk with God  – “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

Because of that kind of thinking or belief, we live under the Old Covenant while being part of the New Covenant. This duality smacks against the cross and brings confusion, uncertainty, and striving.

Do you know that under the New Covenant, He has taken away our sins! He has even forgiven all our sins! (Jn 1:29   1Jn 3:5  1Jn 2:12  Col 2:13)  So much for separation because of sin! Remember, we are saints, holy ones – thanks to Jesus!

Here is something that kicks that ‘separation’ mindset in the teeth! When we believe on Jesus and His ‘once for all’ sacrifice, then He comes to live inside of us. In fact, so does the Father and the Holy Spirit. They not only live in us but we are one with Them! (Jn 17:21,23  7:38,39) Goodness gracious, we can’t get any closer or fuller than that! So why do we keep ‘reaching out’ to God when the whole Godhead is living and flowing inside of us!

Certainty Himself 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)

If we get what Certainty firmly and clearly said about never leaving us and being for us, then we can throw off that illusion of separation and a distant God. We will then resoundingly say – “So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, ‘The Lord is My Helper, I will not be seized with alarm – I will not fear or dread or be terrified.’” (Heb 13:6 AMP)

Next time you pray, just remember He is so near you that He is IN you. He is one with you so He hears you clearly, even your unspoken words. And please know, He wants you to hear Him clearly.

Oh the certainty of an abiding relationship with Him! He brought this about, we had and have nothing to do with it. He maintains this oneness, we don’t. It is ours to enjoy! It is founded on His faithful everlasting love.  He declared, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” (Jer 31:3 MSG)

Oh the certainty of LOVE!

He is rocking my boat because of clearer understanding of truth about certainty found in His cross, love, mercy, and grace! May He rock yours too! It’s part of growing in the fullness of our identity in Him.

Dig In

  • If you struggle as a believer, you just may have an identity crisis. A sinner mentality sure keeps us struggling and working hard.
  • Drop the religious stuff and grab hold of the relationship. There is absolutely no condemnation in it. It is an internal abiding one where resting in Certainty awaits you.
  • If you catch yourself ‘reaching out’ to Him, just remind yourself to look within. He is that close!

Man Is Not Made For The Sabbath – Part 2

Jesus said, the Sabbath is made for man, then He quickly added, “not man  for the Sabbath.” (Mk 2:27)

Would you believe our religious traditions actually set us up to be made for the Sabbath! We unknowingly negate what Jesus said and have made the Sabbath all about man.

In fact, I submit to you that man is lord of the Sabbath! Gasp! How can that be? Consider the meaning of ‘lord’ – a person who has authority, control, or power over others, a master, chief, or ruler. If man is lord of the Sabbath he would be in a position of power and control. He would determine what it looks like, what should happen, and even influence results.

Think about it. Sabbath or Sunday church cannot happen without man doing it and being in control. The Greek meaning of made (in Mk 2:27) helps elaborate my point of man’s self determined controlling role –  i.e., man was ‘to become, to come into existence, to begin to be’ for the Sabbath.”  By our religious traditions and actions we show man is in charge of it, so it stands to reason, man is made for the Sabbath. How did we stray so far from Jesus’ re-definition of the Sabbath?

Historically this began way back in the 3rd century when man maneuvered to be in charge of the church by organizing it and developing a hierarchical system. So we have a long heritage of man being made for the Sabbath. The very opposite of what Jesus said!

Man shows he is lord of the Sabbath and that he was made for the Sabbath when:

  • he is bound to and perpetuates religious tradition
  • he insists the Sabbath is on a certain day
  •  he determines time limits for it
  • he interprets, establishes, and promotes certain rituals for it
  • he plans agendas and programs for it
  • he uses performance, personal charisma, specialized training, special effects
  • he needs hierarchical leadership to make it happen

C. Peter Wagner’s phrase (from his book “Church Quake”) “the routinization of Christianity” aptly sums up my point that man is really good at being lord of the Sabbath. Have you ever thought about how much routine goes on in the traditional church?  Man is the initiator and doer of all that routine. By man’s own abilities, gifting, good ideas, projects, and agendas – the Sabbath happens every Sunday or, for some, Saturday. How then can Jesus possibly be Lord of the Sabbath since we have determined what it looks like? Actually, Jesus does not want to be Lord of OUR Sabbath. Now, He might presence Himself, sometimes powerfully, on man’s Sabbath – but it is not because He affirms man’s routine. He loves people and will touch them in spite of all our good intentions and hard work.

Have you ever thought of how much time and thought goes into planning the whole Sabbath Sunday, our traditional day of rest? How much time did the pastor spend figuring out what to preach? How much time went into planning and practicing the songs that would be sung? How about coordinating the lighting and sound effects? What about the planning of ‘specials’ and announcements? Then there is the timing of fitting it all within an hour or more. Is it planned down to the minute? Man's Sabbath Agenda

Religious tradition has set up a system where it is necessary for man to be made for the Sabbath – otherwise there would be no Sunday church! Gasp! Have you ever wondered what church would  look like if no one was in charge and no one planned a service? What if only Jesus was in charge of the gathering? What if He was the only Head of His church when it gathered?

Here’s a thought! What if persecution came to our land? What if we no longer had the certain building, the special service, the ‘anointed’ preacher, the beautiful music, the comfortable chairs? Would we still have His Sabbath, His rest? That kind of seemingly unrealistic possibility of life threatening persecution makes it easy to dismiss. But, what if – would we stop being lord of the Sabbath because we want to or because we have to? However, we don’t have to wait for difficult persecution to come in order to know the true Sabbath.

With man being made for the Sabbath does that affect our rest on Sunday Sabbath? Truly not everyone rests on the traditional routinized Sabbath day. Obviously the flock/the congregation/the laity come for refreshing, nourishment, encouragement, and some rest. But those in charge of the service, those who make it happen – do they rest? Is that what God intended?

What about those who feel called of the Lord to minister to His people? Has the religious system trapped them into an expected-to-meet-everyone’s-needs environment? One sad result is pastor burnout.  Of course the congregation expects those called to ministry to meet all their needs. Is the congregation trapped too? When we keep looking to a man to give us Sabbath rest, all suffer loss. Is the church deceived and being kept from the true Sabbath?

One more dynamic of man being made for the Sabbath. There are a few who really do like being lord of the Sabbath. What!? They like the attention and special honor, they know they are ‘gifted’ in persuasive words or abilities, they like to be in control, they like being needed. Unfortunately there are some flocks who cannot see this in their spiritual leaders By their support they unknowingly  perpetuate these needy leaders’ position of influence. Grievously there is no true rest and there is no fullness for all involved. Please know that Jesus wants to heal and free all involved in this kind of sick dynamic.

If you go to church on Sunday, fine, but please don’t assume this is the Sabbath rest God designed for you. His rest is way beyond and high above a building, a system, a man, a day, a service, and programs. His Sabbath is directly connected to vibrant relationship with Him.

Do you know who He really is?  He wants you to. I sure want to. Decades ago this stirring and puzzling quote crossed my path – A.W. Tozer said, “God is the most winsome of all beings, delightful beyond telling. He dwells with His redeemed ones in an easy and uninhibited manner that is restful and healing to the soul.” Upon reading, I didn’t get it, but I wanted to. Over the last several years He is revealing the depths of this truth to me. I am so thankful! May you also grab hold of Tozer’s insight and let Him show you who He really is. Your rest and much else will be impacted by it.

I wonder if Tozer had come into experiential revelation of Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-29 and then expounded on them. Grab hold of these life-giving words too – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and over burdened, and I will cause you to rest – I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls…for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest – relief, ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet – for your souls.” (AMP) Enter into the fullness of His rest. The Sabbath really was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Dig In

  • May the Lord give us revelation of the weakness of our well intended abilities to help out God. May He lift veils of deception that would have us believe we are doing Sunday Sabbath right and doing it best.
  • Is man lord of your Sabbath? Do you actually like man being lord of the Sabbath?
  • His Sabbath has nothing to do with effort. Break free from all the routine of Christian effort. Rest is waiting for you.

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Brought Fullness Insight

Bunny trail post. BTW – I’m known for bunny trails but I
do get back to my point – here, that’d be the previous two posts – I will get back to them.  Because of what happened yesterday I realized spontaneity will be part of this blog Growing In Fullness! Over the years I’ve experienced God’s unexpected ways of showing me something. So be watchful for that in your own life (part of fullness) and don’t be surprised by my bunny trails.

Now, what does fullness have to do with aging?!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel scene clip

Well yesterday a friend and I went to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” – a sometimes funny and meaningful movie about growing old. In addition, to my surprise and delight another friend was also at the movie – we went out for ‘coffee’ afterwards. Insights on FULLNESS emerged as we talked about the movie!

My dear friends shared similar private thoughts on the loneliness that seems to accompany growing old and not liking the prospect of that in their lives. I could echo their sentiments as (in my aging) I’ve reflected on and observed the possibility of ‘all alone in old age’. The movie’s characters portray this old age loneliness by – losing a life long spouse, divorced and alone, unexpected financial debt that drastically change lifestyle and social opportunities, health-related issues that bring limitations, not being needed anymore, passed down prejudices, a longing to be touched and loved.

One of my friends expressed, “When you get old it’s like you don’t matter anymore.” Then the Lord started to stir up insight.
It dawned on me this ‘all alone in old age’ and ‘don’t matter anymore’ doesn’t have to be! God never designed it that way! He planned fullness of relationships. The world only offers limitations – e.g. one can lose a lifelong spouse and be all alone, but get happily remarried then lose that spouse too. Alone again in old age.

Consider this – God is the most relational being there is. He designed us to be just like Him – big time relational with Him and others. His kind of relationship for us with others is not based on age, intellect, education, job, ministry, talents, personality, good looks, strength, influence, ethnicity, culture…, but is based on a Person. When His Son Jesus is in us and we in Him then we are part of His body – spiritually and earthly. Our understanding of relationship takes on a heightened value and purpose. His body life is to express itself without regard to any of the aforementioned (fleeting) limitations. In fact, if you find yourself ‘in His body’ segregated and limited in relationships because of age-stage, gender, single/married/divorced, giftings or no giftings, income, programs, religious hierarchical structures, etc. – then you are not experiencing the fullness of relationship God intends. Don’t let that be your lot. There’s more!

This insight, over coffee, on fullness in relationships brought excitement and peace in regards to ‘being alone’ in old age. Not my lot – or yours either. I’m grateful to be experiencing and learning about relational fullness with others that are in Him, but now I see the extended benefit! I smile at the future of growing old in fullness.

Prayer
Lord, bring us into the true fullness of relationships.
Help us see this relational fullness is limitless here and now.
Free us from the fear of relationships lessening or ceasing in old age.
Break off of us religious traditions and mindsets that hinder relational fullness.
Expose and remove critical ways that cause us to focus on outward appearances
and not look at the heart of people.
Enlarge our enjoyment of and valuing of all people.
Connect us with those who are isolated, feel left out, or don’t seem to fit.
Enable us to be intentional in developing relational connections of substance.
Father grow us in this facet of the beauty of relational fullness.
Truly we were made for this ALL the days of our lives! Thank YOU!

Dig In:

  • We were made in the image of God – the essence and fullness of relationship.
  • Fullness includes relationships all the days of our lives.
  • Relationships in Him are to be full with all ages and kinds.