It Truly Can’t Get Any Better

Such an important truth revealed, just in time for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday…..Enjoy

Have you ever been afraid of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.”,  I sure have!!!!  We will get to that soon but first we must clarify some things……

What is the law for?  I have been taught many different things i.e. : It is there to keep us safe.  It is there so we know how to “act” as Christians.  It is there to point out how Holy God is and how unholy we are.  It is there to give us a framework for our behavior.  It is what we have to do to secure our salvation….what a minute…..WHAT?!?!  This in so many ways is what is taught to the church (ekklésia the body of Christ).  Behavior is what keeps you going to heaven.  Here are some examples, DO NOT: lie, cheat, talk bad about people, listen to certain music, read certain books, be around certain people (because they are doing “wrong things”), don’t drink wine or any alcohol, don’t gamble, don’t dance, don’t wear pants….I mean the list could go on.  The Law in the Old Testament was given to Moses, not Abraham.  Abraham believed God and that is where he received his righteousness, a gift from God.  The Mesopotamian’s had their own law known as the Code of Hammurabi which predates the Law given to Moses by around 300 years or more.  The Code of Hammurabi has many similarities to the Law given at Mt. Sinai.  Why?

Paul also talks about the law in Romans 2 and here from a biblical scholar we have a huge answer about the law. Let’s read from the Message version:

“If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.

When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.” Romans‬ ‭2:9-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

And to save on space….(so I encourage you to go and read all of Romans)…..Here is a little more:

“Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.” ‭ ‭Romans 2:25-29‬ ‭

And:

“So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. No one’s living right; I can’t find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, Don’t know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:9-20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It sounds like there were Jews judging non-Jews saying that they are all fine and good because they were given the Law and are circumcised; not realizing that they also need a propitiation for themselves just as much as the non-Jew.  But why?  They followed the law and yet still sinned.  Remember the rich man who followed the law complicity until he was asked to give all he had to the poor and follow Jesus.  He couldn’t do it.  We all have our places where we fail to follow the law. Paul was making it very clear the law nor their personal behavior could ever make them righteous; because there would always be an area of failure in every single person’s life no matter if they are Jewish or not. Circumcised or not. Taught the commandments or not.  We all fall short of the glory of God. The law is put in our conscience from the beginning of conception.  It is written in the fabric of our being because of Adam and Eve.  When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it was implanted in them and as we are born from the seed of Adam we also have the understanding of good and evil in each of us. The Law comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Pure and simple.  Otherwise how could Hammurabi come up with some of the same laws 300+ years before Moses wrote them down for the Israelites?

Paul makes it clear that we all have a conscience that has been written on what is right and what is wrong.  That is why you would see the uncircumcised following the law without ever hearing of the law. The Law just makes known that we know what is right and wrong and we, in and of our own selves, can NEVER do what is right and avoid what is wrong 100% of the time.  Nor has God EVER BELIEVED we COULD!!!!  That is why He had to set things right.  Here is the scripture:

But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-24

Okay, the question I have today to some of the church leadership around the world is the same question Paul asked the Galatians in chapter 3 of his letter to them:

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Selah (Hebrew for lift up,exalt or pause) Please pause and think about the above statement Paul made.

The Galatians, like many Christians today, were trying to perfect what God had already IMG_2795done.  They were “working their heads off to please God?”  Remember the list above I had made of the do’s and don’ts?  Those things are common sense things.  Some are just rules that are said to “keep us safe”.  But, in the end all of these “things” will not cause God to be pleased or not pleased with us.  What we need to understand is that God was pleased to give His only Son on our behalf, to set things right for us.  He pleased Himself with what He did for us.  The Galatians were so caught up with themselves and pleasing God with their behavior they forgot what Jesus said to the crowd at the sermon on the Mount:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NASB

I don’t know about you, but for me this verse has scared the daylights out of me.  I was so scared that I would do something wrong and then when I am ready to enter the kingdom of heaven Jesus would look at me and say, “I knew you not, depart from Me.”.  I believed this was based on behavior.  I could think of the lawless deeds I have done since becoming a Christian and what if I missed one that I didn’t say sorry for….WHAT THEN!?!?!?!???!!!!  I AM DOOMED!!!! AND MIGHT AS WELL STOP TRYING…..because I could never fully live up to the law.  Until, I understood I am righteous in CHRIST JESUS and I will never negate what He FULLY FINISHED at the Cross for me.  And this Scripture above proves that.  Let’s look at the Greek meanings from the above scripture in Matthew:

  • will=theléma= properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God’s “preferred-will”, i.e.: His “best offer” to people which can be accepted or rejected.
  • do=poieó=With nouns which denote to carry out, to execute; as, in Classical Greek to make a law of legislators; but in Biblical Greek to do the law to meet its demands-the things which the law commands.
  • lawlessness=anomia=NOT law; properly without law i.e. : (“lawlessness”) includes the end-impact of law breaking– i.e. its negative influence on a person’s soul (status before God).

First, what is His BEST OFFER?  Of course that is Jesus, Who He is and what He has done for the whole world.  That is God’s “best offer”….remember Paul said the crucified Jesus is where God set things right for us.

Second, do the things the law commands.  What are the commands of the New Covenant? According to 1 John 3:23, it is: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another*, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (*loving one another is the Law of Liberty talked about in James chapter 2, which I will discuss in another blog.)

Third, lawlessness here in scripture is pointing to a person’s soul and it’s status before God.  When we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be delivered, made righteous in Him and be justified before God. (Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:1 and many others).  This means your soul’s status is clear before God because of what Jesus did for us (propitiation).

It is time for the true Message to go forth once again.  Full circle to what was originally taught by the apostles.  The Message of exactly what Jesus Christ did on the Cross and in His Resurrection.  ALL of what He accomplished at the Cross when He said, “It is Finished!”  For our faith to be in Him not in our behavior.  It is time for the church to let go of teaching behavior and simply teach JESUS. It is simple trust that sets you right with God not your behavior. Keep the faith in what He did for you which FULLY assures your soul that it’s status before God is pure…not because of what you did but ONLY because of what He did for you.

It is all about: Knowing Whose you are and who you are.

✨ Let Your Light Shine ✨

A little personal celebration….this is my 💯th post! 🎉🎊. Okay…now to my subject. 😊

On my way back to my room one morning on the ship, I walked by the wedding chapel which happened to be on our deck and I heard a bible study going on and the question asked was…How do you let your light shine?  I walked on pondering this question in my heart of how that looks to me now and thought of the many people I know who do this effortlessly daily; just this like my friends who own their own business and how they have successfully let their light shine without condemnation, shame, or judgement.

Yet, I want to look a little deeper……and am hoping you will come along with me 😉

The other morning while talking to God I had a vision that I want to share.  This vision was of me praying and as I ended the prayer I was going to say, “in Jesus Name I pray”.  As I went to say this I could see Jesus in me and I in Him.  Making John 14:20 come to life: “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”  It was like an essence in me and around me.  In that moment, I believe, I understood in a greater way what “in Jesus Name” really means.  I believe that I am where Paul was at in Acts 19 in understanding what the Name of Jesus holds.  Let’s look at scripture:

In John 14:13-14, we read the well-known scripture from Jesus, ““Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” ‭‭NASB‬‬.

There are also many scriptures that refer to Jesus’ Name and believing in it, asking in it, baptizing in it, being gathered in it, cast out demons in it, speak in new tongues in it, perform miracles in it, receives children in it, and receives the Father in it.  I want to expand your understanding of Jesus’ Name and how much more it means then maybe what you have thought of it as.  So many times I have been taught or read how we must pray in His Name. It has become so many times, at least for me, a way to get something done in the spiritual realm.

I was talking to a friend recently about deliverance. (BTW, one of my favorite topics now). We were discussing the lack of power when dealing with the demonic.  I was explaining to her the importance of who you are and Whose you are and the complete reliance of ALL that Christ did on the Cross.  She was explaining to me some circumstances and the “methodology” that has developed in many Christian circles regarding dealing with the demonic.  One of those methods was the use of Jesus Name.  Now there are plenty of times in Acts where we see this used….yet there are times we don’t see this used…..so where does this leave us???  I think we need to look at the fullness, the multifaceted meaning of the word “name” in Greek because I believe with all my heart, that what I experienced the other morning was exactly where the apostles and believers in the book of Acts came to understand as they walked with the Holy Spirit in them.  First let’s look at the Greek word for “name”:

ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others.  A little more description coming from Hebrew understanding: “According to Hebrew notions, a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs, i.e. it is something of his essence. Therefore, in the case of the God, it is specially sacred” (Souter). (emphasis mine)

Second, let’s look at a couple of scriptures that help explain first our position in Christ because we believe in Him or Who He is and second just what happened at the end of Acts with miracles God was doing through Paul:

Jesus talking: ““I’ve used figures of speech in telling you these things. Soon I’ll drop the figures and tell you about the Father in plain language. Then you can make your requests directly to him in relation to this life I’ve revealed to you. I won’t continue making requests of the Father on your behalf. I won’t need to. Because you’ve gone out on a limb, committed yourselves to love and trust in me, believing I came directly from the Father, the Father loves you directly. First, I left the Father and arrived in the world; now I leave the world and travel to the Father.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭16:25-28‬ ‭MSG‬‬ (emphasis mine)

“God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary. The word got around and people started taking pieces of clothing—handkerchiefs and scarves and the like—that had touched Paul’s skin and then touching the sick with them. The touch did it—they were healed and whole.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭19:11-12‬ ‭MSG‬‬ (emphasis mine)

Lastly let me give a real life example about a woman who my friend knew. This woman had come to us for prayer.  She told us that she felt God’s love by standing with my friend and I. This had been the first time she had felt God’s love in years because she had dabbled with witchcraft most of her adult life.  My friend and I never once prayed over her or proclaimed Jesus Name over her.  What did happen is she felt Jesus’ essence (name) emanating from us.  We simply stood near her.  God wanted this for her more than anything and He did it.

img_1265As we believe in His Name, we will then have the essence of Him in us and us in Him, we will manifest and reveal Him in our actions as we simply believe we walk in Him and Him with us. We reveal a part of His character as we bring freedom and healing for those around us. As we become more assured of the fact Christ never leaves us nor forsakes us even when we have done something wrong is when we then fully believe Christ truly took ALL sin, ALL condemnation, ALL sickness and disease on Himself and finished, and paid our penalty for all time this is when we begin to fully walk in our authority of what Jesus died for us to have. The church is who has been left on this earth to bring heaven to earth. We are the light and the salt of the earth.  That is you and I as believers in Christ’s Name. What I am saying here is that, His essence lives in you.  This is a fact, believe it and your light shines!  You can’t help but shine because you exude Jesus and in that it reveals His character.  Just Who He is.  As we more fully understand or maybe just believe this truth we will see these greater things Jesus promised His people would do.  Anybody ready for handkerchiefs and scarves?  I am!! ❤️

The 153 Fish….It Really Is All About Jesus

On long car trips I like to play a game. I like to add up license plate numbers and then figure out divisibility. Give me a shout out below if you like to do the same. It passes the time and numbers are fascinating to me. Anyhow…..someone in the past had mentioned how interesting it is in the last chapter of John how 153 fish are mentioned. Contemplating why in the world would the number of fish be so important to mention in the Gospel of John. I mean John could have said there were so many fish caught that thankfully the net did not IMG_0683break or the net did not break under the pressure of such a large catch.  Then I imagined them all there counting how many large fish were caught before they eat just to make sure they could record the right amount. That is hysterical to me…one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…oooops Dr Seuss. I am pretty sure God wanted this recorded in the gospel of John, yet why? Why 153 fish, why record it, and I am pretty sure Jesus could tell them how many fish were there; so why???Back in September of 2013 the Lord asked me to do something. He reminded me of my car game with numbers and He had me go and read the following account in John 21:

“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch. ” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work ), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.” ‭‭John‬ ‭21:3-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Notice the words I bolded above. Right side, hundred and fifty three, and third time. Also note that these same circumstances happen when Jesus first meets Peter as told in Luke 5:1-11; yet we only know a great quantity was caught. For me this means that a full circle has occurred. We have come “full circle” and we have come this far for a very important reason–JESUS!

Let’s look at the numbers now. This is the picture the Lord gave me:

The number of fish divided by the number of the time Jesus manifested Himself after He was raised from the dead. Like this

153 / 3 = 51

What do these numbers mean in the Bible:

100- God’s election of grace, children of promise, full reward

50- Jubilee, liberty, number of the Holy Spirit

3- Resurrection, divine completeness, perfection

1- Unity, number of God

This number of fish is what the men gathered in the net from the right side of the boat. The right side means our natural self, doing things out of our natural ability. Like when Peter had declared that he too could suffer the things the Christ would but later denied he knew Jesus. (John 13:36-38 and John 18:25-27) Jesus takes a natural story (catching of fish) and covers it in the supernatural (abundance and the perfect number to announce exactly what He did for Peter and for us). What He did for Peter He also did for the whole world. As we believe in Him, He takes our natural side and covers it with Himself. The fish being pulled up confirm and point to what Jesus already did for the whole world through His death and resurrection. He purchased humanity for His bride and proclaimed those that believe Who He is: children of grace and promise; entering into the time of jubilee and liberty through Him; giving the ability to be filled with Him by the Holy Spirit; assuring us of Divine completeness and perfection through Him ; and having full assurance of resurrection with Him. Not only did He proclaim this through a simple catch of fish, he then confirmed Himself by repeating it….look closer—

153/3=51 or 351 is 153 backwards

When I saw that I heard: “I am that I am. I confirm Myself.”. Wow, amazing!

We are all or have been Peter. We want to do things in our own natural ability. Even to the point of obedience to God. Truly though we are saved by Grace alone. Not by anything I have done or not done, will or won’t do, nothing by my merit has or ever will save me, JUST JESUS. The whole world needs this Savior, Jesus. He did it all for us and then confirmed what He did for each of us through the catch of fish pulled in that day, 153, the third time He showed Himself after the resurrection. All of us have tried doing things on our own, through our natural self and Jesus shows us, tells us: I am here just pull Me in. All you have to do is, Believe.