More of God?

B31A20A1-664D-4D12-86F8-FB7EEDD792E2The year is 66 A.D. or maybe 67 A.D.  and Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, finds himself once again arrested by the Roman Empire.  But this time it is much different.  Instead of being under house arrest he finds himself in a dungeon in chains.  To be more specific in Nero’s dungeon.  Not only is Paul there but it is also believed that Peter who walked with Jesus is also there.  At this time Paul is able to write a letter to his fellow brother in Christ, a young man he raised up in the faith of their mutual Lord and Savior. This young man, Timothy, receives a letter which will be known as 2 Timothy to future generations. Yet, for Timothy this is the last correspondence he has from a man he had walked with and knew so very well.  This is the man Timothy had learned from Who Jesus is.  Paul knows his time is short and soon he will be poured out as a drink offering (4:6).  Paul asks Timothy to come to him yet at the same time realizes that Timothy may not get there in time, so his letter also conveys the concerns he has of the times and of the faith which is so dear to him and that he will die for.

If we put ourselves in the times this letter was thought to be written, we might see this as a transitional time for the believers in Christ.  Most of the other disciples have been killed for their belief.  The Roman Empire is controlled by Nero.  Under his rule the believers in Jesus suffered great persecution.  He is known as a cruel leader.  Both Paul and Peter are killed under his rule leaving only John as the  last of the original apostles.  Many believers began to wonder if Jesus would ever return and some were teaching the resurrection had already happened (2:17).  Paul also warns of others in the future who will have a form of godliness but deny it’s power and always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth (3:5&7).  He reminded Timothy, “ But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (3:14-15).  Paul also reminds Timothy several times to: “Hold fast the pattern of words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1:13); “…be strong in grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2:1-2); and “consider what I say and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” (2:7). Paul wanted to ensure the true gospel—-stayed TRUE and that the message being taught would not go back to the old leaven (law).  He reminds Timothy of the importance of faith in Who Jesus is to secure salvation and righteousness and how this truth needed to be passed on to future generations. I believe Paul was passing the baton on to his disciple Timothy before he died.  What brought me to tears though was the realization that the church today has completely perverted Paul’s words and has done exactly what he didn’t want to happen with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And the really sad part is that they have used his own words to do so.

So many times this book (2:20-26)  has been taught from the perspective of a believers behavior and their need to try to better themselves so they can “get more from God”, or “get to a higher level”.  Christians have lost the Way and forgotten it is Him Who brings us from glory to glory, not us.  And we already have ALL of Him in us, period.  There is no secret way of obedience to “get more Holy Spirit”. The entirety of the Holy Spirit resides in each believer as they Simply Believe.  People that believe there is a way for them to attain more of God by their behavior are simply feasting on the old leaven (1 Cor 5:8). This old leaven causes you to want to hide your mistakes and choices instead of living from the inside out (see: Grace Enables You to…. for more info).  When feasting on the old leaven you fear God and man because you don’t understand that God has already forgiven you because of His Son.  The truth is you are fully forgiven which causes you to not fear because you know, no matter what you have or haven’t done, you are beloved and fully accepted by the Holy Trinity.  

In our humanity we always want or desire to make ourselves righteous. It is just such a source of pride in humanity.  I understand this because for years this is the way I had lived.  This is where God truly wants humility.  It seems so difficult not only for unbelievers but for believers in Jesus to understand this.  We need to acknowledge the facts:

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES RIGHTEOUS OR MORE RIGHTEOUS.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES PURE OR MORE PURE.

WE CAN NEVER MAKE OURSELVES HOLY OR MORE HOLY.

WE CAN NEVER GET MORE OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR OR LESS OF GOD BY OUR BEHAVIOR.

According to Paul, we can only freely receive these things from Father God who made the way through His Only Son, Jesus Christ.  It is a FREE GIFT.  I submit to you the containers Paul speaks about In chapter 2:20-26 was to help Timothy realize that there are different vessels in the house of God and to make sure Timothy sees this clearly, understands this and makes sure the true gospel gets passed on to trustworthy people.  Paul talks about these containers in 1 Corinthians also.  In verse 8 of chapter 5 Paul mentions something that we must look at to understand what he was saying to Timothy: 

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

The old leaven is the law.  The leaven of malice and wickedness is the world and the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth is the New Covenant.

See Paul was warning Timothy that these different containers would all be present in the “Church” and to look for the honorable containers to entrust the message to.  Giving credence to those that taught the truth just as he has done.

When I better understood the history, I could better understand the wording of the letter. I began to see that this letter is not so much about what I have to do to attain more from the Lord; but much more about believing what God, through His Son Jesus, has already done for me.  I believe this letter is just reinforcing to Timothy what Paul has always taught: Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb has already done it all for us…all we have to do is Simply Believe (Faith).

I encourage you whenever you go to read the Word of God to start at the right starting point…which is:

God Loves me

Jesus died for all of my sins

I am fully forgiven

I am righteous in Jesus

I am a new creation in Jesus

I have a free will choice to choose to believe Who God and Jesus is

The Holy Spirit (all of God) lives in me when I choose to believe

God never leaves me nor forsakes me

If we look at 2 Timothy with these eyes, we can see it is all about faith, grace and understand we can not in and of ourselves make ourselves a clean container but that through focusing on Jesus, through our belief in Who He is and ALL that He has accomplished on the Cross we are the clean or an honorable container. As believers we need to stop trying to put a new garment on an old one…it doesn’t fit-the New Covenant message of Grace is not a patch for the Old Covenant of Law— just put on the whole new garment of Grace given freely and completely to you by Jesus.  Through all scripture—ALL—-you can see the truth of Jesus.

It is time for Jesus,
not man,
to be high and lifted up
and He will draw
all men unto Himself.

So now go and read 2 Timothy with new, fresh eyes and let’s stand and make a change back to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  We no longer want the old leaven of the law, nor the feast of malice or wickedness (the world).  What we want is the New covenant, unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  Truth that Jesus took all your sins, it is finished, you are whole (even if you don’t look it or act like it, remember glory to glory) and you are obedient right where you are at.  A good friend said something so profound and I want to share it here.  She said, “I gave 100% of what I had at that time.”  This is how I see believers going from glory to glory now.  I can’t yet give what I don’t understand I have just yet.  But I am fully reliant on the Giver and the Giver knows my heart.

Freedom from Condemnation

F974C388-8CDE-491E-BE7B-A0259C1B1DC1After writing my last post, Firm Foundation, I was talking to a close girlfriend about each of the points.  When I had gotten to number two and I said out loud I am completely forgiven, I realized in that moment it had been a really long time since I had felt condemnation.  Now for me, and I believe many in the church, condemnation comes along frequently.  At least it had for me.  It would come in large mountains that were immovable and even though I would take the steps I had been taught for so long by church leaders it simply would not budge.  I would live in a constant state of perpetually feeling like I had to somehow work at getting God to forgive me.  Let me give an example to help explain:  Let’s say I got angry with my kids that day and screamed at them.   I didn’t even use bad language but I still let my anger get the best of me and I screamed at my kids.  I would then feel guilty, I would repent to God saying I was wrong and I did something bad, I would apologize to my kids, I would then spend hours praying while everyone slept again asking God: to forgive me, help my kids to forgive me, wipe away any bad things I may have caused in them because I yelled.  As I would “repent”, which looked more like me taking out a whip and whipping myself, I would hope I could show God how sorrowful I was and maybe God would forgive me.  I would ask Him to help me forgive myself yet the mountain of condemnation would stay.  I would repeat this same idea of repentance again and again sometimes for weeks for the same wrong doing.  I was so focused on what I shouldn’t be doing and not on the fact that God loved me, had already forgiven me and this act would not cause me to go to hell or ruin my children…but I was living in a hell here on earth because condemnation gets very heavy to carry and it caused me to forget who I am and Whose I am.  This very focus on the wrongdoing would cause me to repeat the same scenario over and over again.  I wanted off this hamster wheel, but didn’t know how.   The Holy Spirit though taught me that the way I viewed the word repentance was incorrect which led to condemnation having free reign in my life for years.  The way most church leadership teach repentance is wrong.  The reason I know this is because I not only experienced it but also was one who perpetuated it.  I have written about repentance here: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law, and many other places throughout my blog you can just search repentance if you would like a fuller picture.  See, I believed repentance to mean: I must make sure God knows I am sorry, I must somehow prove to Him I am being truthful about being sorry and I must convince Him to forgive me.  Here is what repentance truly means:

Metanaeo-(Greek)=to think differently after; change of mind; changed after being with.

And how about the word confession in Greek:

Homologeó-(Greek)=to agree or voice the same conclusion.  Simply: put to voice the same conclusion God has.

See these two words together are important.  First when true repentance occurs you see things God’s way and when you confess you are coming into agreement or voicing the same conclusion God has in situations.  Repentance never meant to grovel at God’s feet in hopes He forgives you.  It simply means seeing things God’s way and coming to the same conclusion as He does.  It is a change of heart that He does in His interaction with us through the Holy Spirit inside us.  It is simple…not us doing it but Him doing it in us.  This is why the Holy Spirit came and this is not manufactured or drummed up by ourselves.  I want to make that very clear because when that happens your focus is in the wrong place.

There is no need
to prove we still
need the free gift;
we simply receive
the free gift.

What seems to be forgotten in all of this is the important fact of what God did with the obedience of His Son, Jesus, on the Cross for all of us.  This part seems to be put aside after we are saved.  All of a sudden we, as Christians, are trying to prove we are good enough to still receive His free gift of “It is Finished”.   The Father and the Son have done all the work for us, period.  We are fully forgiven, Holy and righteous because of Their work, not ours. When we have accepted that and continue to accept it, which means we have FAITH in what was accomplished for us, then we no longer feel as though we must be the ones to make ourselves clean, Holy or righteous to be forgiven. We simply already are forgiven.  There is no need to prove we still need the free gift; we simply receive the free gift.

37D3AEA9-1F2C-408D-A61E-AEB04919B024Now, when I have done something wrong, I thank God and His Son for what they paid such a dear price to purchase (my freedom) and I am thankful I have the Holy Spirit within me.   Like a child I simply trust (faith), know that I am forgiven, know that the Holy Spirit is taking me from glory to glory, rest in the fact I am loved in my imperfections, I confess that He is good and with this…condemnation has no place.  It no longer even comes to visit me.  It has simply given up because I no longer rely on my good behavior but His.  And I know that is ENOUGH.  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, Who saved and continues to save ME.

The Worst Disease to Hit Mankind

And what you can do about it…

In His Name

Over the many years of being a “Christian”, I have been “taught” how to “pray”.  I quote those words because I think they have been misused or misunderstood.  At first I was taught by the Holy Spirit; but the longer I was around people who had been in the church longer than me I began to pick up some of their habits. Then it was expected I should pray in a certain way and take classes to learn how to pray.

A vending machine
has no will,
money is put in,
a button is pushed,
and what the person pushing
the button wants comes out

Today though, I want to discuss the practice of what may have become more like a formula many Christians use to put emphasis on their prayers. One of the things the Lord had shown me during those three days almost three years ago, was a vending machine. When He showed me this He spoke,”I am not a vending machine but people have made me into a vending machine“.  See a vending machine has no will, money is put in, a button is pushed, and what the person pushing the button wants comes out. We, as Christians, may have started at a wrong starting point with our view of God. We unknowingly may think God has no will in circumstances of life and yet, His plan comes above everything else. I can only discern what I believe to be God’s will as each circumstance comes to me through this lifetime.  His Holy Spirit inside me tells me and gives me unction to pray instead of praying a prayer as someone (man) desires me to…but wait I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me try to explain. The scripture that I want to use is in Acts 3:16. This is where the apostles are headed to the temple and there is a man who is sitting at the Beautiful Gate begging for money because he has been crippled since birth and the apostles say they do not have money but what they do have….here let’s enter in:

“Kefa said, “I don’t have silver, and I don’t have gold, but what I do have I give to you: in the name of the Messiah, Yeshua of Natzeret, walk!” And taking hold of him by his right hand, Kefa pulled him up. Instantly his feet and ankles became strong; so that he sprang up, stood a moment, and began walking. Then he entered the Temple court with them, walking and leaping and praising God!
‭‭Acts of Emissaries of Yeshua (Act)‬ ‭3:6-8 CJB‬

In His Name…..I have ended many prayers this way.  Many times knowing or sensing what I had just prayed wasn’t what God wanted me to pray.  Yet, the expectation was for me to pray this way because if I didn’t then God wouldn’t be seen as good and/or I IMG_1656would not be praying correctly according to man.  Let me make this very clear: God is good all the time despite the circumstances I am in.  Yet, in the past, I felt I needed to pray a way directed by man rather than God.  For this I have been convinced I was wrong and have gone back to my childlike trust in God and what His will is in each circumstance.  See we apply an attribute to God and then make it a blanket statement not realizing that it might mean something far greater than what we see it as.  Let me use this as an example.  God hates sickness. Yes, God holds no account to sickness.  It is not part of His realm.  But I want you to think of the worst sickness or disease to ever hit mankind.  Maybe it could be the plague, AIDS, cancer or….there are many to choose from.  To me though the worst sickness or disease is actually the original fall.  This is a disease that has attacked every single human being in the world.  Our brokenness is what has brought so much strife, division, hatred, and evil acts perpetrated on other humans and the earth. This sickness/disease we are all born with.  Jesus carried this for us at the Cross.  He made a way to rid humanity of this awful disease.  This sickness that 65893174-28F6-48F3-811B-339FC93F8B10has caused so many sicknesses. And with that He also took the shame of all of us who have performed these acts.  I want the world to see the largeness of what God actually did through His Son on the Cross.  We get caught up in the smaller picture and with that fear creeps in.  What if I die?  Well….we shall all die and as Christians we should not fear this or the second death.  Because truly we live forever.  We should not be like the Goyim (the unbelievers).

So, back to prayer.  Here is the definition of the Greek word for “name” from biblehub.com:

3686 ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others. Thus “praying in the name of Christ” means to pray as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence. “Praying in Jesus’ name” therefore is not a “religious formula” just to end prayers (or get what we want)!

[“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).]

Praying “in His Name” means we receive revelation from Him as to what to pray.  It is not simply to tag this on in hopes you are praying what He desires.  It actually means you are praying as directed by the Holy Spirit in that instance. As stated above, Hebrews understand that the name is part of the person….the essence of that person and is inseparable from the person.  A name is very important to Hebrews.  As it should be for all of us.  As believers in Christ, we have His essence known as the Holy Spirit residing within us.  Inside of us we know, otherwise called discernment, what, where and when to pray.  We have the mind of Christ, His essence, in us.  We pray in His Name as we call out His will in this earth realm as it lines up with His larger picture, not yours.  His larger picture, as I have read in scripture, is that the world may know His Name.  He simply does not want one person, human, to be separated from Him.  As we pray, this is the larger picture. In the above historical story of the man being healed at the Beautiful Gate, God’s larger picture evolves.  This isn’t saying God didn’t want this man healed but there was a larger picture. Let’s finish the story here:

Everyone saw him walking and praising God. They recognized him as the same man who had formerly sat begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were utterly amazed and confounded at what had happened to him. While he clung to Kefa and Yochanan, all the people came running in astonishment toward them in Shlomo’s Colonnade. Seeing this, Kefa addressed the people: “Men of Isra’el! Why are you amazed at this? Or why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk through some power or godliness of our own? The God of Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Yeshua — the same Yeshua you handed over and disowned before Pilate, even after he had decided to release him. You denied the holy and innocent one, and instead asked for the reprieve of a murderer! You killed the author of life! “But God has raised him from the dead! Of this we are witnesses.” “And it is through putting trust in his name that his name has given strength to this man whom you see and know. Yes, it is the trust that comes through Yeshua which has given him this perfect healing in the presence of you all.” Acts of Emissaries of Yeshua (Act)‬ ‭3:9-16CJB‬

God glorified His Servant Yeshua.  Simply making it known Who He is.  Trust in His essence, His Name.  Trust in Who He is that gave strength and perfect healing to this man in their presence.  We have always focused on the healing but not so much about the people present. Peter was very straightforward telling these Jews the very same man with the name Yeshua, Jesus, this man who You disowned and denied as holy and innocent is the very same One Whose essence in them brought healing to this man whom had been crippled since birth.  This was just what was needed at this point, in these people’s lives to make Him known to them.  Each situation is different because each person is different.  God knows us perfectly and knows what needs to be done in each situation.  We are simply to trust (faith) Him with the outcomes.  Fully knowing the worst disease to ever hit mankind has been abolished by the King of kings on the Cross.  In His Name, ❤️

God Always Desires to Give More

imageThe law was born out of the prideful belief that we could do all things in our own strength. (Exodus 19:4-9). Now when we choose to believe (faith) in the fact that the law was fulfilled by Christ on the Cross, humbly accepting His free gift, we can now firmly say, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. (Phillipines 4:13) I am thankful for all Christ has done for me.