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.

New Wine

The Unforgivable Sin

A while ago, I had prayed for a woman.  She had so much fear because as a little girl she had been told by an adult leader in a church that she had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be able to go to heaven.   What is even sadder though is both of my boys, unsuccessfully, had been taught about the unpardonable sin.  Thankfully this was after sharing my revelation of God’s great grace with both of them.  My youngest got in such a heated discussion with his “Christian studies teacher” that he had to be pulled out of the classroom.  For him he saw a God that would forgive everything and the way this teacher was explaining this scripture, in Mark 3:29-30, did not fit into how he saw and knew God.  So, today I want to bring clarity, hope, freedom and truth to this scripture that has, because of the way it has been taught for many years, hurt so many people.

Let me copy two different translations of this verse below one from the New King James Version (NKJV) and one from the Message.  My favorite is from the Message; yet many times this is taught from the NKJV.

“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;  but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30 NKJV)

“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.” (Mark 3:28-30 MSG)

4B47B2E1-54F7-4733-87E5-EC144318724AWhat is even more interesting is the title in the NKJV which states this section is about THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.  Wow, and it looks just like that…..so this must be what it is about…..and it is….but not what we have been taught for years. (Yes, I said all that with a huge grin…because of the goodness of God).

I have written before about the importance of reading scripture in context, looking at the time period, who wrote it and whom it was written to.  It is just as important here.  At this time Jesus was healing and teaching around Galilee.  There were many people from other areas there with Him.  He had chosen His twelve disciples when all of a sudden scribes are proclaiming Jesus to have the prince of demons, Beelzebub, within Him.  Jesus teaches them in parable regarding how can a house divided against itself stand?  He then goes on to say in Mark 3:28 how ALL of the sins and blasphemes will be forgiven the sons of men.  It isn’t just a few sins but ALL; which means in Greek the totality of.  No sins left unforgiven.  It will all be accomplished, finished.  But then all of a sudden it sounds like Jesus is now retracting what He just said in the next sentences.  But He isn’t.

I looked up each word in the Greek in all three verses.  Specifically verses 28 and 29.  Here is the summation of what I looked up (to do your own research you can view the bible hub pages here: http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-29.htm and http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-30.htm):

Whoever refuses to acknowledge the good that has come from the union (remember Jesus is talking about Himself and the healing He has been performing by casting out unclean spirits) of the Holy Spirit, negates possession of forgiveness in this age, is legally bound or obligated eternally (both now and outside time) to sin’s results because they have concluded I possess a spirit which is adulterated(“a wrong mix’/tainted by sin). (Mark 3:29-30)

He is making it clear there is one condition that the son of man (yep, that is you and me)  must make to have ALL your sins forgiven.  The scribes had just concluded that the sinless lamb was full of sin.  So for them, unless they change their minds (yep that is repentance) and realize that Jesus is the Sinless One whom will take on all of the son of men’s sins, they are negating the ONLY way to possess forgiveness from God.

Jesus was already telling how and Who forgiveness would happen through.  How the one condition of faith in Who He is makes all the difference for the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.  It is simply the same simple message of faith, forgiveness and a Spotless Lamb that must be seen as spotless not just as a “good man”,  a “prophet” or a fake.  He was, is and will be the only real Spotless Lamb, born without sin, remained without sin for our good.

 

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.

Firm Foundation

I dislike reading titles that say 5 tricks to losing weight or 3 ways to save your marriage.  So, I purposely chose not to use a title like that.  Plus, this list has to be able to be expanded if needed 😉…I just don’t like to be put in a box 📦.

For the past few days I kept seeing the words, “You Are Loved”.  Around the fourth day of this I said, “Yes Lord, I know I am loved.”  Then I felt led to write.  I have been asking the Lord what are my core values and how much I wanted my core values to line up with His.  I can see these are my bedrock beliefs. A foundation set in Jesus2A602E7A-B080-4697-8A6D-8F26631CFAD4 that can not be destroyed.  It is how I view myself and others; how I live or walk out my life on a daily basis; the lens I see scripture through; it impacts how I pray; and how I see God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I felt compelled to share it:

  1. I am Loved.
  2. I am completely forgiven by Him.
  3. God is on my side no matter what my circumstances look like.
  4. The work has been done by the only Begotten Son for me and this is where I find my rest for my soul.
  5. I could never do anything that would cause God to turn away from me-EVER.  I would be the only one capable of turning away from Him; yet He would pursue me passionately until I turn back.

As a daughter or son of the Most High God this is a foundation that is based on truth.  It truly doesn’t get any better than this.  If you don’t have a relationship with the Father just take a peek at this page Salvation Prayer.  It is so simple to just believe in what has already been done for you.  If you have any question please comment or connect with me on my Facebook page.  ❤️

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, ❤️

The Fight

This past weekend I watched the McGregor/Mayweather fight.  I watched as round after round went by thinking about the endurance each athlete had to have to continue fighting.  I thanked God for the endurance He has supplied me with to fight the good fight of FAITH.  Because life is so much like the boxing ring and I am thankful that Jesus has won the war for me.

I had posted a great pic a few weeks ago of what I am going to write about in this blog post.  You can look at it here: Coming soon…Why the race is about faith and not behavior….#Hebrews11 #Hebrews12 . Let’s get to it.

Hebrews is beautifully written to well…..Hebrews….but there is much for us in the church in present times to look at here.  I went through the history of this book in Did You Really Just Say That?!?!.  So please go back and read this post if you haven’t yet. Hebrews 11 is the faith chapter and there are a couple of things I want to make clear with this chapter.  This faith chapter includes people like Rahab, King David, and Samuel.  It also includes what the Jewish people suffered holding on to their faith (trust, belief) in Who God is.  Please note King David was during the law but his faith made him righteous and Rahab’s faith made her righteous enough to be in the lineage of Jesus and she was a prostitute.  At the “end” of this chapter it states:

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.(Hebrews 11:39-40 NASB)

Apart from us they would not be made perfect…..because something was provided by God that was better for us. This is describing what Jesus had done in their lifetime and ours. As the letter moves into Chapter 12 of Hebrews, we get into some pretty important wording that we all need to carefully look at.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin (noun) which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before usfixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners (adjective-describes a noun) against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB)

  • sin (noun)= hamartia 266 = (ha) not and (3313 meros) a part or share of; no share (“no part of”) loss (forfeiture) because not hitting the mark.  Every action or decision done apart from faith.

I have written about sin before in the New Testament in the blog Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4).  I have questioned: How could Jesus say, “Go and sin no more.” When He said to go and “sin” (verb) no more it was so much more than their behavior, as we might think of it.  We need to remember that Jesus is the “mark” we do not want to miss in the New Covenant.  Jesus came onto the scene here on earth proclaiming, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  And He was truly desiring for people to look at things or see things as God sees them.  Jesus also clearly noted that their faith healed them not their behavior.  The definition of hamarte (noun) also describes every action/decision done apart from faith; this is a heart condition which then can convert into a mind decision.  I make a decision or choice of faith in God in the very beginning (faith as small as a mustard seed).  In this faith (trust/belief) I also believe that all my sins (transgressions=hatah, iniquity=avon, and sin=peshah) have fully been cleared by Jesus’ payment on the Cross.  When we see the word sin in the New Testament we think behavior instead of looking deeper and actually understanding the Hebrew word Peshah.  Peshah means to make a counter covenant and to clearly, of your own free will, choose to identify with the principles of evil.  When you see it this way it is in direct opposition to God and all that His Son has done for you.  This is fully making a decision or action apart from faith.  This word contains the idea that this is their own free will choice, self empowered choice to forfeit or have no part of or share of…..God’s desire to have a relationship with them which Jesus provided a free and clear way through the Cross for the whole world. This is truly “missing the mark”, Jesus.  This is what equates to wickedness or sin isn’t the Greek word hamartia.

  • encumbrance (noun)= ogkos 3591 = weight, burden, encumbrance–this is the only occurrence of this word in the NT yet this notes both Matthew 23:4: “They tie up heavy burdens (unable to move, pressing down on a person with oppressive force) and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”  And Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is [a]easy and My burden is light.”  Again both of these scriptures Jesus is talking about the Pharisees and how the Religious mindset lays a heavy burden on people whereas His is light.  Does anyone feel light?  I do….thank you Jesus.  Do you want to feel light?  Keep reading…
  • entangles (adjective) = euperístatos 2139 = from 2095/eú, “well”; 4012/perí, “all-around”; and 2476/hístēmi, “stand”) – properly, well-planted all-around, describing what is encompassing (encircling), i.e. surrounding, “wholly around”; (figuratively) a serious hindrance that “encircles” (hampers) someone who desperately needs to advance.
  • endurance (noun) = hypomonḗ 5281 = (from 5259/hypó, “under” and 3306/ménō, “remain, endure”) – properly, remaining under, endurance; steadfastness, especially as God enables the believer to “remain (endure) under” the challenges in life.

Yes, think about him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you won’t grow tired or become despondent. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in the contest against sin. Also you have forgotten the counsel which speaks with you as sons: “My son, don’t despise the discipline of Adonai or become despondent when he corrects you. For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips everyone he accepts as a son.”  Regard your endurance as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons. For what son goes undisciplined by his father?  All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don’t, you’re a mamzer and not a son! Hebrews 12:4-6

I don’t know if this scripture has scared anyone else, but it has me.  This verse always makes me envision an angry God up in heaven waiting to dole out some pretty hefty spankings when I don’t line up and follow all the rules.  How about you??  Let’s look at the beauty of these words in the Greek to have an accurate picture of Who God is and what the unknown author was really saying.

  • resist (verb)= antikathistémi 478 = to set down against, i.e. to replace, oppose; I resist, supersede, replace, oppose.
  • contest (verb) = antagonizomai 464 = (1 occurrence in the NT found here) resist, strive against, contend, antagonize.  The definition of antagonize according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is as follows: 1) to incur or provoke the hostility of His criticism antagonized his friends. 2) to act in opposition to : counteract

The word counteract bears more looking at.  Counteract means to act in opposition to.  We have not acted in opposition to sin to the point of shedding blood against sin.  Yet, Jesus has.  Jesus has resisted, opposed and superseded sin to the point of shedding blood.  The word sin here is a noun not a verb.  It is describing a person, place or thing.  When Jesus is explaining to go and sin no more it is a verb which is an action.  We need to be watchful of the use of the words.  When I have read scripture in the past I would see the word sin and automatically think verb which means action.  Where here it is a noun.  The use of the word in the sentence changes what it is defining.  As I stated above the word hamartano is described as this in biblehub: Every decision (action) done apart from faith (4102 /pístis) is sin.  Every action done apart from FAITH is sin.  Yet this word is a noun, person, place or thing.  This is how I felt the Lord was describing it to me.  The sickness mumps is a noun, it is a thing.  Yet that sickness develops actions like swelling of the neck and fever still things yet your actions come out of those things.  Like sleep, sweating, drinking liquids.  I hope this is making sense.  So Jesus sat and opposed or counteracted sin the noun so that we would not have the actions of sin the verb.  Here is how I see it in my mind:

FAITH (trust/belief God) VS SIN (counter covenant)

Jesus counteracted sin.  Here is a good example:  The doctor gave you medicine to counteract the effects of the sickness.  So: Jesus made sin ineffective in the lives who by faith walk through the door He opened. That is the pill.  We simply keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith.  He restrained, neutralized the ill effects of sin (noun) because He is the direct opposite or in opposition to sin.  Jesus counteracted sin for all of humanity as we have faith in Who He is and what He did for us.  So, the question always comes down to this…why do I sin….are you talking transgression, iniquity or actual sin according to the Hebrew.  See, Jesus says He paid for all of that on the Cross.  There are iniquities that are weaknesses to fall under temptation….yet what did Jesus do…He said it is finished, So it is finished. The payment has been made for the whole world but those that have access to it simply trust God for what His Son did for the world.  The enemy would like us to think that our salvation is dependent on our behavior when it is actually our faith that brings us into covenant with God, not our behavior.  What do I do when I have transgressed?  If you haven’t already please read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4); which will answer that question for you.  The realization that my relationship with My Father in Heaven is not based on my behavior but completely by His behavior brought freedom and a light load.  It is really that simple.

As I realized how Jesus counteracted sin,  He then asked me, “Why do people want to be sin foucused instead of Me focused?”

I believe the answer to this question is: as humans, since Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, have tried to attain our own righteousness, holiness and right behavior.  The law though has only proven we can not attain this.  Yet, still as Christians, we try to somehow attain holiness and righteousness by our own deeds still instead of realizing Jesus counteracted sin, He paid the price and for that I am eternally grateful.  We do have a new nature He paid to give us and we do act in that more and more as we focus on Him not our behaior.  Don’t put the Cart Before the Horse?  So we instead of becoming sin focused (a choice outside of faith) let us remain Jesus focused by believing and trusting that He has begun a good work and will remain faithful to finish it. (Philippians 1:6)  Because God promised to write the law upon our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16) and be our God.  This is us in the New Covenant.  We believe, have faith, this is what God has done in us and realize God is finishing this work within us and believe He has created a new nature within us, that the old nature is dead with Christ and we have risen new with Christ.

In the Kingdom of Heaven trusting (faith) = righteousness, holiness, benefits of sonship/daughtership and so much more

Regard your endurance as discipline.  This means your endurance (see definition IMG_1646above) is discipline.  Discipline means to reach full maturity.  Remember that your seed of faith is given by God and is as small as a mustard seed but when fully grown becomes a large tree.  Strong, that can withstand a storm.  One of the notes on biblehub states that God uses things that happen in our life to mature us.  God’s discipleship is to mature us through life’s experiences.  Life happens and we either mature or we stay stagnant.  Choosing to mature grows our faith.  And just to make sure you understand: if we choose not to mature at that time GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU!!!  And there will be plenty of more “LIFE HAPPENS” to mature.  We no longer live under the law; so please do not think that God is waiting to punish you as if you had to hold up your part of the bargain; because remember His Son, Jesus, has paid the full price for you.

“For they disciplined us only for a short time and only as best they could; but he disciplines us in a way that provides genuine benefit to us and enables us to share in his holiness.” (Heb)‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭CJB‬‬

We receive genuine benefit and share in His holiness as we hang on to our faith, let go of the law (heavy burden) and the sin (separate of faith).  Faith is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Faith in the One who resisted to the shedding of blood, the One Who bled so we can partake in His righteousness and holiness.  This “fight” is the fight to remain trusting and believing in Who God said He is as we walk through this timeline of our life.  This is what every person listed in Hebrews 11 did and they endured horrible hardships.  This is what every believer had done in the time this letter had been written.  They endured terrible deaths.  Yet they were not told to make sure they didn’t do x,y,z but were told to not claim a counter covenant and keep the covenant Jesus paid such a dear price for.  As we look at the end of chapter 12 the author says:  let us have grace through which we worship and are accepted by God.  Grace…let us have grace this is how we worship and are acceptable to God.  So that means accept Jesus’ free gift of grace, fully redeemed, fully loved, fully holy, fully accepted, fully clean, fully righteous because of what Jesus did…not because of what you did or didn’t do….Just believe, trust; which simply means FAITH.  So know you should feel lighter as you have let go of the law and grabbed hold by faith…grace given by Jesus.

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

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.