A Humble Heart Remains….

As I was talking to my husband about this upcoming post, he gave such a great analogy regarding this particular subject.  He said when he is aiming at a target downrange if you are just a little off it will impact your ability to hit the target.  It may not seem like you are off that much yet as the bullet travels away from the gun the trajectory which started just a little off will make a big difference downrange.  How far off have you been or are you now about your view of God?  How far off are your core values to His?  It again points to the starting point which is how you view God that allows a direct hit of a target downrange.

For so long I held on to a belief system that I had to prove myself worthy of God’s love.  I didn’t realize that I said one thing-“God loves me!” while at the same time deep within myself believing I had to do everything right to keep His love.  This is a wrong core value or starting point.  This way of thinking sent me hitting targets like: I am not good enough, I will never be good enough, I hate myself because I can’t get it right, God hates me, the whole world hates me because if God hates me then how in the world could I love myself much less anyone else.  I just NEVER could perform in excellence like….well…..Jesus did.  I was told I must emulate Jesus in every way and I found myself lacking…day after day.  Now WHAT!?!?!!!  I didn’t give up on God….but I believe we see a generation that quite frankly….IS.  Why are they?  I believe because they are starting at the wrong starting point with their view of God.

In my last post, It Truly Can’t Get Any Better, I promised to write about the “law of liberty” found in James.  It is important we have the correct view of God to fully understand this concept “law of liberty”. Many in the church see this “law” as “right behavior”–“Do this, but don’t do that!”.  Yet, early Christians understood this to mean something completely different…..or maybe they just started at the right starting point. Let’s dig into the words here (info comes from biblehub.com):

Law-Nomos (3551)-This word must be taken in context to understand what law is being talked about….I can hear my English teacher: context, context, context!!!  The law regarding the Christian faith is used only 4 times in scripture: Roman 3:27 Law of faith; Galatians 6:2 Law of love; and James 1:25 and James 2:12 Law of “liberty”.

Liberty-Eluthria (1657)-“Freedom, liberty, a state of freedom from slavery”. Freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by FREE IMPULSE of the SOUL what the will of God requires.  There is a note in biblehub.com it states see Epistle of Barnabas 2,6. Which led me to the Epistle…which in turn led me to the scripture in Psalms 51:

 

 

 

As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning of the “Law of Liberty”, I distinctly heard the Lord say to me:

“A Humble Heart is required when you become a Christian to even accept such a free gift; it continues to take a Humble Heart to run the race and realize it is not about you—your behavior or your “goodness” but about Me, My behavior and Goodness.”

That was so good to hear and yet I knew there was more He wanted to articulate to me.  And of course it came….I needed to understand the word HUMILITY.

Now let’s look at HUMILITY in the Greek:

Tapeinophrosune-5012-humility-

(a noun, derived from 5011 /tapeinós, “low, humble” and 5424 /phrḗn, “moderation as regulated by inner perspective”) – properly, low; humility, “lowliness” of human pride (self-government); that quality of mindset of “having a humble opinion of oneself, i.e. a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness – i.e. lowliness of mind” (J. Thayer). In Scripture, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“lowliness, humility”) is an inside-out virtue. produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others)… For the believer, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“humility”) means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no reliance on self (the flesh). The word occurs neither in the O. T., nor in secular authors.

I have written a little about this in, It’s an Inside Job.  When we compare ourselves to Christ we will always fall short. In this, we realize we need a Savior and must always rely on His Finished Work and the Holy Spirit working inside us; not our own ability (self/flesh) that produces any “right behavior”. This is humility, as a Christian: realizing it isn’t your ability that is creating any right behavior but His Spirit in you changing you from the inside out. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) Free from the carnal desires of the old corrupt self. Simply live from that truth. Remember the word “liberty” in Greek means our soul, because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us and He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, will by FREE IMPULSE do what the will of God is and we are free, no longer slaves, to our old corrupt desires.  This is the truth, the fact that we live from.  This is what James is telling people.  He says, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free.” (James 2:12) We, in truth or in fact, live from the place of freedom from our old nature.  It is dead and we now live as a new creation, alive with the Holy Spirit within us.  Are we perfect, NO of course not—Jesus was and is the ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE.

For me to hit the bulls eye downrange I needed to start at the right point.  The starting point is simple: God loves me no matter what before I was a Christian and after I accept His free gift.  This is Grace.  I used to believe God loved me before I was a Christian but now that I am a Christian I have to earn His love, favor and protection.  See this slight difference makes a HUGE difference downrange.  This wrong starting point puts me back under a law that I was never intended to be able to perform.

I also came to better understand that I have complete dependence on God.  Yet even that understanding had to come from the right starting point.  I finally realized I can not make myself behave or do right…..but He changes my thinking, my actions and He does this from the inside and it naturally becomes outward actions.  Do I always get it right…..no!  But does He still love me and has He already paid the price for my mistakes….YES!!  Do I spend hours with Him….of course I do….HE LIVES IN ME!  He is there 24/7 in ME!!!!!!  Do I make it a religious thing….certainly not…He told me to let go of the rules.  He wanted me….all of me…flaws and beauty…the whole package.  He didn’t want a robot or someone ultra religious, trying to look holy or make myself holy….He knew it was just an act…just me relying on my flesh to make myself holy.  But now I understand He truly makes me holy 100%…not because I have done everything right or performed A, B and C…..and don’t forget about D….heaven forbid I forget D…I say this in jest, but honestly that is how I used to live.  No more…I live from a place of freedom.  No longer a slave but a daughter of the Most High King.  Holy because He is holy, Righteous because He is righteous, Fully forgiven because Jesus paid for all my sins and Saved because He rose from the dead.  Simple faith that grows inside which is a free gift from God that I receive.  According to Psalm 51:16-17, He does not want us going through the motions or IMG_1502a flawless performance….yet He does desire broken pride and a shattered heart.  Humility is the opposite of pride.  It took humility to realize I needed saving and righteousness in the first place.  It takes humility to realize Jesus is the only One Who paid the price to give to the world salvation and righteousness. Humility must remain after we accept the free gift because that is the place we live from knowing that it isn’t us that changes our inward parts but God through His Spirit in us……that is GRACE.

What Do You Do With Failure?!?!

The Lord, a few years back, had shared with me the statement I put in the picture right here:IMG_1492.PNG  This was hard for me to hear back then because I was a “law woman”. Keeping the rules with a slave mentality instead of a daughter mentality was the relationship I chose to have with my Father in Heaven…until He set me free (see It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law).  Yesterday, as I talked with a good friend, the Lord reminded me of this word. As I was talking, I finally received understanding for this statement because He has helped me understand how to be His woman.  First and foremost, we must start at the right starting point: Jesus took my place and all punishment, condemnation, and sickness, that was my due because of sin, was placed on His body and for that I am eternally grateful.  I didn’t understand this when He had told me this a few years ago…I was still striving in my own effort to hold up my part of the bargain in this relationship with God; which I had been taught in the church to do (religious law keeping). If I didn’t hold up my part of the bargain then I was lacking, God would then turn away from me or lift His hand of protection. I would then have to go to Him repent, showing enough remorse. Then, and only then, He would be able to look back towards me, cover me again with His hand and all would be well……until…….I somehow messed up again.  This was a continual process of shame, guilt and remorse….and I NEVER felt like I would EVER be good enough for Him.  Wow!! So the statement, there is no failure in Him had me mystified…until….yesterday.  All because I have the right starting point now.  Here is the picture God gave me:

When I see His timeline or plan, many times it comes to me as a tapestry that is being made.  It is not complete, but is complete.  In the inner weaving of this fabric pattern are the failures in which He has made a beautiful tapestry out of.  Yes, the failures which He has made beautiful.  How can that be?!?!?!!!! These failures are not failures because they have actually fulfilled a purpose in our lives which He ALWAYS make BEAUTIFUL for His sons and daughters.  The scripture that comes to mind is this:

“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;”
‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭CJB

I encourage you to put past failures in His hands and take a look at the bigger picture of the tapestry of life that He is creating.  It is beautiful and honors Him. ❤

Cart Before the Horse?

The age-old question…what came first the chicken or the egg?  It is such a great question.  For those of us that believe in creation by an all-powerful Creator than of course we answer the chicken. Remember in the beginning He formed all the animals out of the dirt (Genesis 1:24).  Much like us who also were formed from dirt; yet we were given the image and the breath of God (Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7).  Amazing! So, here is a question what comes first grace or works?  So many times I have heard or read about “tension” in the scripture.  By this people mean: one verse says this but another verse seems to say a completely opposite statement.  A while ago I posted a picture named, Tension; you can click there for the link to the picture.

I believe when we look at scripture we need to start at the right starting point.  When we don’t start at the right starting point then of course we see opposing statements.  When we do start at the right starting point then what we have seen as opposing statements actually flow congruent.  Many times one scripture is pulled out against so many other scriptures and pointed out as an opposing scripture.  What is amazing is it usually is trying to denigrate grace.  One such scripture is James 2:17:

“Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead.”

Let’s read a little further into James 2:18:

“But someone will say that you have faith and I have actions. Show me this faith of yours without the actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions!”

The reason James is looked at is because it talks about behavior or works.  People that try to throw the grace Jesus bought for us to the wind and try to say it is all about behavior.  James here was talking to double-minded (Definition: (lit: of two souls, of two selves), double-mind-properly, “two souled”; (figuratively) “double-minded,” i.e. a person “split in half,” vacillating like a “spiritual schizophrenic.”) people.  People that said they have spoken with their mouth Jesus is Lord and yet the outflow of their life showed something different.  James makes certain points such as: a desire to treat poor people harshly and rich people well; not taking care of widows and orphans; or favoritism.  James called this a vulgarity.

img_1348If you see tension in scripture, I believe, you are putting the cart before the horse or somewhere within your core beliefs you still have an area of law you are abiding by.  Let me explain a little further. When we understand we are saved by grace alone that it was finished by Jesus the Christ on the Cross for the entire world to have the ability to choose the free gifts of grace–freedom from and power over sin; and salvation.

We are then able to start at the right starting point and will understand the works we do are a NATURAL OUTFLOW of our faith in the Christ which has allowed the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.

Works are a sign, the cart after the horse or the egg that comes from the chicken. It isn’t something you perform but how the Holy Spirit who has come to dwell in you performs as you abide in Jesus.  If the works are the focal point then we have definitely put the cart before the horse. Our focal point needs to start at the truth of all God did through His Son on the Cross and in the Resurrection. Early believers understood this.  It is time for the Church today to understand this as James said:

“Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning.” James ‭1:17‬

Real Freedom from Fear

I am back from a wonderful trip with my family and extended family. We enjoyed a plane trip over the “pond” landing in Rome. We spent a couple of days there and boarded a ship traveling to Pisa, Italy; Toulon, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Portugal; after that we sailed across the Atlantic to Florida.  It was all an adventure. I love to see people, culture, building architecture and history.

As we flew back home from Florida, I was asking the Lord why I hadn’t had a great revelation while away.  I mean there was something that I had talked about before with family and friends that I will be writing about in the next few weeks but nothing new.  All of a sudden, He directly asked me a question, “Are you afraid?”  All of a sudden I was taken through my entire trip and realized I didn’t once have a panicky feeling on any of the plane rides, no fear about where we stayed, where we walked, no fear on the ship being in the middle of the water.  No fear the entire trip!!  Now some of you may say, “Hey, that isn’t a big deal!”, …but for me this is HUGE.

Before the Lord had helped me realize who I am in Him and Whose I am two years ago, I would have fear plague me on trips….almost all the time.  I had been taught by actions of my leaders around me and books I had read that the enemy is bigger than God in me.  Yes ,they would say the opposite but their actions showed what they really believed.  I know most of you will say, “Hey, that just isn’t true!”, ….but what are your actions saying?  Now I am sure, some of you are already living a fearless life.  But for me, I now know I wasn’t. I would say I was free from fear but my actions and belief system did not line up with the statement.

Before on trips, or everyday life I had to be careful where I went, who I talked to, what building I went into, where I stood, and the thought of not hearing the Holy Spirit in every step caused me to be bound up in a huge ball of fear.  If I misstepped I could get sick, attacked by the enemy or for that matter it could impact my family–somehow the enemy was going to attack me and/or my family. Even though I said, “He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world”, I didn’t walk it out (1 John 4:4). So, that meant it was not a core belief….it was only talk and wishful thinking on my part.  It was not what I truly believed.  This is what I believe many Christians struggle with many times without realizing they are. How do I know; because I lived it and am now free.

So, what changed this for me was the realization of who I am and Whose I am.  The reality of what Christ did for me, for the whole world, on the Cross.  I know with certainty that the Triune God loves me, lives in me and is always with me no matter what I have done wrong or what I may be doing right.  The truth is that He lives in me, not because of what I have done but always because He did His part and my part in this covenant relationship. Just like He did with Abraham. But this is a New Covenant, a better covenant. For He lives in us all the time; as we have faith (belief) in Who His Son is. It is just simple. Jesus made it simple because His Father made it simple for us.

img_1255What I desire, in my whole being, is for people to know just how big they are in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Exactly Who they carry inside of them.

Not just say they know, but walk in that knowing. 

People will walk knowing, fully understanding Who they carry inside of them is the Creator of Heaven and Earth. I want them to know with a certainty there is nothing they could ever do, no transgression, no iniquity, no sin that was not already taken care of for them at the Cross by Jesus will take this fact away from them.  All of God’s wraith was already placed on His Son for you for all time.  All we do is believe in Jesus.  Faith.  We have the Creator living inside of us when we choose to believe. When we understand what really happened for us on the Cross we walk in the confidence of Christ, not ourselves (our right or wrong behaviors).

When you fully understand what Christ did on the Cross, who you are and Whose you are there is absolutely no fear.  Literally the scripture, ” “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ NASB), comes to life when you know this. This is exactly where God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit–the Triune God wants you to live.  It is amazing with wide open spaces and a life to fully enjoy with Him…..oh the adventures and oh the freedom you bring to people, areas just by walking in confidence of who you are and Whose you are.  Amazing!

When we come to this realization that it isn’t about us but ALL about Him (Jesus) we will truly see the greater things Jesus said and promised we would do and see.

Needless to say, yes the Lord gave me quite a beautiful revelation while away.  I have to say this is one of the best trips I have had in a while.  #letfreedomring #Whoseyouareandwhoyouare

God’s Promise

SONY DSC

As I prepare to visit Rome….I have been pondering on the reality of being where Paul was.  I love the book of Romans because of a multitude of reasons. One of those reasons is Paul so clearly enunciates the infinite work of what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross in this letter.   Today as I pondered holiness and the fact that Christ is our holiness, that there is no way we can produce our own holiness, remembering that we are holy simply because He is holy (Be Ye Holy As I Am Holy), that Christ did it all for us I came upon this scripture in Romans:

“That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise —and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.”  ‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:13-15‬ ‭MSG‬‬ (emphasis mine)

It is so simple: we have faith (believe) that God sent His Son Jesus to die on our behalf (the great exchange) that is the PROMISE.  In that belief/faith we become a new creation in Christ, fully forgiven, fully healed and always loved.  Not by contract where we have to keep our half of the bargain but ONLY by God’s promise.  So, NOTHING you do or don’t do can break God’s promise.  Amazing love of the Father. ❤️

The Bottom Line

Have you ever been in a meeting, a conversation or a church service where you just wanted to shout…can you just get to the bottom line?  I have,  thankfully I have never shouted the statement outloud……thank God for Holy Spirit self-control.  Yet Jesus talked about foundations many times and this bottom line, I believe, is foundational as everything else is built upon it in the New Covenant Kingdom.

When I began to blog in a very open and intimate way beginning with: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law, there were many people who literally either loved or hated what I wrote.  What I find interesting is the all out hatred for the true grace or the true gospel.  I think the simplicity of the gospel frightens many because maybe their “status quo” in the church would be disrupted.  This same feeling is what I believe the Pharisees and Sadducees feared when Jesus came on the scene and why they hated Him so very much.

Jesus disrupted the “status quo” in their church/synagogue and they were willing to kill Him for that.

It really is not so different now.  Yet, I also know history will be kind to those that stood for the true gospel during a time on the history line where the church needed change.  There have been many who have also stood through the history of the New Covenant Church that brought about change and this is no different except…well it involves me, my family and many friends.  With any change it takes time and standing for what is true.

So, I began this writing adventure with a true statement and is seen as a common thread or the bottom line of every single post.  This is what I tell people all the time when talking with them because it is truly the encapsulation of the gospel.  It is so simple that even fishermen or I can understand it.  It is simply:

Knowing Whose you are and who you are in Jesus Christ.

It isn’t a bunch of steps, rules you have to follow, or a checklist of things you must do.image   We need to remember Jesus always said His yoke and burden is easy and light (Matthew 11:30). If you do not feel this way then I challenge you to truly look at whether or not you are living under the law in areas of your life.  The Holy Spirit will help you with this….just ask.

My life in Christ is so simple…it is like when I was a child (Matthew 18:1-6).  I simply believe in Who Jesus is- this automatically grafts me into the family line of Christ with all His benefits.  I know the truth- Jesus died for all my sin, all my shame, all my sickness and disease for ALL time.  When Jesus said it was finished-He really meant it.  Understanding my righteousness, the Holy Spirit and my eternal life are gifts I receive from my Father through His Son.  I haven’t done anything to deserve these gifts and I can not do anything to un-deserve them (except deny Jesus for Who He is and walk away (Peshah)–read Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more understanding) -yet rest assured He is chasing after those with determination).  My heart beats with the desire for ALL people to know this truth, to live a life full of Christ and live in the full freedom He died to give us.  A place where you can breathe the air of heaven all the time.  Come join me in such a place.

This basic truth is the solid ground of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 7:13-14 and John 14:6)