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.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…

I had made a meme…A Little of What… .  This had been part of something the Lord had been telling me:  "You are the pearl, be the pearl. You are the treasure, be the treasure. You are the coin, be the coin."  One of the things I would have believed or interpreted from this statement in the past, because my view of God was off, is this:

"Darlene, shape up because you aren't behaving like you are one of My children."

Yet, this isn't what God was saying to me at all.  What He is saying is:

  • You are pure; because My Son made you pure.IMG_1590
  • You are priceless; because you are you created by Me.
  • I will keep running after you; because you are so very beloved by Me.

When you believe you are pure, priceless and beloved by a Father in heaven it changes you.  You can't help but be changed.  Your whole mind shifts from a place of fear to a place faith.  When we start to understand the fullness of what Christ did for us on the Cross: how fully forgiven we are, how beautiful and priceless we are, how greatly loved we are this in and of itself changes our perspective of ourselves and others.  This alone is huge.  Yet then God gives His gift the Holy Spirit, Himself to live within us.  The closest we can get to Him this side of Heaven and that is amazing love.

Whose you are
and
Who you are

It isn't about your or my behavior when He says, "Be the pearl".  It is all about seeing yourself as or believing you are the pearl, treasure and coin. This is called: "faith in what He did for you".  That is the Kingdom of Heaven….be the pearl.

Matthew 13:44-45, Luke 15:8-10

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

Enter Into His Rest

If at anytime you are reading scripture from the starting point, ” If I will….then God will….”then you are starting from the viewpoint of the Old Covenant and trying to fulfill the law.  I used to do this all the time, but not any more, thank God.  When Jesus came, He died on the Cross and He rose again, this changed history and created a New Covenant free gift offered to all people.  This covenant is similar to what He did for Abraham, but a million times better, in that it is a covenant of faith where God did and Abraham received because Abraham simply believed in Who God is and this belief was accounted to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Today, in the New Covenant, we, as believers, are under GRACE not law. So, when we read scripture it is imperative we start at the right starting point.  In the New Covenant we start with:  Jesus did it all for all time.  Jesus bore all my sin, shame, sickness, disease on the Cross.  He fully took my place and the whole worlds place on the Cross.  He took the entire bulk of punishment upon His own body for all time and for all people.  As believers in Jesus, we have the astounding privilege to be part of His family and fully understand that God, through His Son has done everything for us and all we do is receive.  There are no strings attached to this. As a believer in Christ there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to lose it (except deny Who Jesus is; but then He is chasing after you). There is absolutely nothing you have to do; but just believe in Who God is and what Jesus did for you.  As it  says in 1 John 1:5-10:

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” NASB‬‬

Let’s look at this through New Covenant eyes: If we declare that we are sinners, that we truly need a Savior we are immediately walking in the Light with Jesus, we are cleansed from ALL sin. We just need to confess which means: “to acknowledge belief in”.  What are we acknowledging belief in?  The fact that we were all born into sin because of Adam and we are in need of saving.  Once we acknowledge this and believe that Christ died for us to be free from this sin nature, we are forgiven and cleansed from ALL unrighteousness.  Which means we are a new creation and fully righteous in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17&21).  The New Covenant is that simple. You do not imageneed to perform for God to stay in the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus already has performed it all.  Do you need to keep confessing your “sin” so you can stay in good terms with God???–No, because we have already acknowledged that fact when we had faith or believed in Who Jesus was and Christ’s act with our faith, acknowledgement and acceptance of that free gift is what makes us on good terms with God; because the payment was paid in full by His Son for us. All of our iniquity, transgressions, and sin was nailed to the Cross for ALL time and were are righteous in Christ Jesus.  So, I challenge you to read the scripture above with the realization: this was written for non-believers to help them enter into the Truth of Who Jesus is and all that He did for them.  Next I also challenge you to read it from the right starting point: God through His Son finished it all for you and has done everything for you…now receive the Holy Spirit and enter into His rest as Hebrews 4:10 says:

“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” NASB.

This is the message of the New Covenant, the message of Grace. The true gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you want to understand more about transgression, iniquity and sin read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4)

Be Ye Holy As I Am Holy

This is the scripture that came to mind the other morning as I woke up and God, my heavenly Father, and I had a conversation.  He was reminding me how scared I used to be when someone would preach this scripture or how I used to read it and because my image of God was off I started at the wrong starting point.  What I used to imagine was God up there in heaven with a menacing face pointing His big finger at me saying in a condescending voice, “You be Holy as I am Holy!”.  Ahhhhhhhhh…I wanted to run and hide under a rock. No wonder people, both believers and non-believers, don’t want to have a conversation with Him. which of course makes the enemy so happy.

So many times I have had or heard teachers, preachers, etc… try and give you the 5 steps to a good prayer life, 10 steps to have relationship with God, 3 steps to “getting it right with God”; instead of simply going for the root of the reason why people don’t want to communicate with Him. Maybe what has been taught for too many years, since the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion, is WRONG.  Hmmmmm……maybe the lack of the true gospel message of the New Covenant is the root of why people don’t want to have conversations with God. Maybe this false teaching needs to be rooted out and the truth declared and then people will long for, desire intimacy with the One Whom loves them so much. The problem is they have painted God out to be that figure I was describing above who we need to cower from rather than run to. And that is exactly NOT who He is.

There seems to be a real difficulty for humanity to combine justice, righteousness and holiness with GRACE, Love and Mercy. Yet, that is God. We hear it over and over again throughout His Word. So how can a Holy and Just God just let you off the hook for what you have done wrong? How can a Holy and Just God even look at you? How can a Holy God ask you to be holy—when you know for sure you can NEVER measure up? The answer is God can’t. He can’t just let you off the hook, He can’t just look at you, and you know you can never be holy in and of your own ability. Although I have tried whole heartedly to be holy. I tried so hard to do everything right, to say the right things all the time….yet I constantly fell short. It was NEVER ENOUGH to live up to the standards God had placed as the law. What I didn’t know for the longest time was that God NEVER expected me to live up to that high mark. He knew I was incapable of doing so. What I did find out later is that in the New Covenant: because of what Jesus Christ had done for us on the Cross, because Jesus became sin for us, because Jesus took our punishment, because Jesus took our sickness and shame upon Himself, and because Jesus FULLY took our place we, who have faith in Who Jesus Christ is, are now let off the proverbial hook: we are fully forgiven and the payment for our sin is marked:”PAID IN FULL”, God desires to look upon His beloved (us) and we are holy. Simply put we are Holy because He is Holy. The Holy One, Jesus, took our place. That which knew no sin became sin for us and now we are holy and righteous. It causes, in me, a great thankfulness that rises up out of myself for what He did for me. It is not forced or manufactured…it simply is there as I mediate on the HUGENESS of what He did for me.

If you are doing what I used to do, trying to self create your own holiness by trying to do everything right, please stop. Look at the scripture:

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:13-16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

It is simple…I shall be holy for God is holy. I fix my hope completely in the grace that has been brought to me as Jesus was revealed for Who He is in my life. So I rest in the hope of grace and trust that He will take me from glory to glory changing me from the inside out. Stubborn children try to do it on their own; yet obedient children trust that what you are doing is for them. They trust and grab ahold of the hand that is bigger than theirs and know that good comes out of all situations.

img_1052I am made holy only because of what Christ did for me-that is freeing, makes me feel fully loved, fully cared for and fully safe. This creates the desire to communicate and have relationship with the One who adores you. This presents the right starting point for everyone to want to talk to their Heavenly Father. There is no need for multiple steps…only this: God is for you, wants you and dearly loves you…so much so He gave His only Son to take your place so you could be His for all eternity-holy and righteous. Amazing Love.

God Is Bigger Than The Boogeyman?

Of course we should all answer a resounding, YES! This is like a no-brainier for most/all Christians. Yet, I have talked about how our real beliefs, our core values are played out in our actions not by our words in my blog posts- We Stand In the New CovenantDon’t Touch God’s Annointed, and Core values and Grace. Too many times we say we believe something and our actions show otherwise. The core value about whether or not we really, truly believe Jesus conquered the enemy is played out in our lives, our actions. Here let me give you a real life example: my family and I were at a grocery store (and this isn’t the first time this has happened, nor do I doubt it will be the last time) and a woman that attended the church that I talk about in Ummmm…Is That An Elephant in the Room?!?!? and People Don’t Like Letting the Elephant Out, Questions Answered was there also. My son ran into her and she at least said hi this time, my son didn’t give her an option as he stood right in front of her and said hi first, (yes there have been people who have looked my boys in their face and turned their heel without a word and walked away from them even after knowing them for years) but the level of anxiety was so high, the level of fear was so high for her that when she got to her car we watched her as she went to put her shopping cart away when all of a sudden she saw all of us, did a circle in the parking lot with her cart, came back to her car, and left her basket by her car door, then quickly jumped in her car. Now many of you may be thinking oh, okay…and….????

But the reality is this hasn’t been the first time we experienced this same reaction from others from this same church. I want to make it clear that this is sad…but truly we have learned to laugh at it. Not to be callous; but because we see it for what it really is and laughter is good medicine. While some of the people, who called us friends at one time during our nine years at this church, we have not yet seen in public, but they have dropped us as friends and all connections have ceased. At first I tried reaching out to a few and those simply never replied back. So you just stop trying. But what I want to get to here is a belief system that led to this behavior in the first place. It has been taught and instilled in many of the people from this church and possibly others have experienced the same treatment at the hands of a church leadership. In my case the church leadership needed to shut me up, you would have to ask them specifically why because I don’t truly know exactly why…I only have ideas of why. So they used fear as their tactic and led them to talk about me, to keep people away from me, by saying I am “filled with demons” and if they come close to me or my family, have relationship with us or are even our Facebook friends these demons will jump on them, create more demonic warfare for them, the demons will attack their children, they will soon fall away from God and so on.

The belief that the enemy is bigger is acted out; yet with their own words they say “God is bigger”. Remember in my previous posts I have shown that people learn more quickly by actions not words. This false belief system within the Christian community needs to stop. Now before I make the following statement I want you to clearly hear wisdom needs to be listened to. God gave us wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Let me give an example: you are a woman like me and you think it is okay to walk down a dark alley by yourself at night….ummm wisdom says not smart. So use wisdom when going places, reading things, etc. But know this, reading a particular book, going to a certain movie, going in a certain coffee shop will not make you lose your salvation. See God is bigger than all that. Now wisdom, Holy Spirit, will tell you hey this book, movie etc isn’t one that may help you, but it could be okay for another person and about coffee shops I can’t drink the coffee at a certain one because it hurts my stomach…it’s the bean they use. Does that mean I can’t go…no I just pick something else if that place is my only option. 😉 Yet I have found a pervasive belief in some Christian circles that somehow if you go somewhere you are spiritually dirty, or heaven forbid someone touch you that the “pastors” consider “spiritually dirty” because then you will be “tormented all night” or possibly become “infected” etc…..needs to be seen for what it really is-Controlling a group of people with FEAR.

image

This false belief system causes Christians to fear going places, seeing people, touching people-who probably need a touch and has brought divisiveness within friendships and sadly families too. There should be no reason anyone from that church should be afraid to talk to me or my family nor the friends that left for their own reasons…many because they were not willing to be scared into not talking to me. I know this sounds crazy. And if I hadn’t lived it, it would be hard to believe. Yet, it has and is still going on today.

But, I desire to get to the root of this wrong belief system, pull it up and out and replace it with the truth. We can say God is bigger than the boogeyman; but do we really believe it. For a long time I lived in the fear I was describing above. Fear to go places, touch some people, or let them touch me. If they did touch me then I had to spiritually “wash off”. What bondage to fear. I am so grateful for GRACE and God’s revelation to me.

You need to understand, I have dealt with the demonic and it probably would have been better if I hadn’t read books or listened to others teach me how to help people get free from the demonic. I didn’t fear helping people get free from demonic influence. There were many times I was called to help in situations or would simply be at the right place at the right time to help someone. Yet, this false belief system began to make me question just how big God is. And that became a problem. I found once this fear had a place in my belief system, that is when I myself gave wiggle room for the enemy to bug me more or harass me. Since my belief system has been set right, there is simply zero tolerance now when it comes to the demonic. So what changed for me and what needs to change for Christians like me?? It is simple-start at the right starting point–belief of Who Christ is, who you are in Him and Whose you are.

Here is what changed: I believe that Jesus Christ died for me, He paid the price for all of my sin for all time, and I am beloved by Him and His Father. I am the daughter of the Most High God, not because of anything I did but ONLY because of what Christ did for me, that I could never do. Starting there at the right starting point will easily flow right into the fact the enemy has lost, he has no right in me or around me, anything he tries to whisper and accuse me of I say back the truth – I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Philippians 1:11 & 3:9, Galatians 2:21). I never stand in my own goodness or badness–I only stand in Christ. I know who I am and Whose I am to the very core of me. In wisdom, anywhere I go with Him I am covered, protected and loved. I can touch everyone, have relationship, and talk to anyone and I will leave the mark of Christ’s love because He lives in and through me. I change the very atmosphere of anywhere I step my foot. See I know all this because I know of the deep cost Christ paid for me and I know Who lives in me because He choose me first and I said yes! I know God is bigger than any boogeyman. I just don’t say it…I know it to the depths of my being and I walk it out daily with Him.

I truly just want freedom for those still bound in fear. I truly want freedom for all those that are afraid to be near me. If you believe God is bigger, then even if I was filled with demons you should have no problem being near me. And if, if you truly love me and you say you are a Christian and you truly believe I have demons in me than you should be the first one in line to help me. This is exactly what one of my friends said to this line of thinking when it was presented to her to “let go” of our friendship. She said if this is true about her, when I leave work today I am going over to her house and that demon is going to be gone. See right there is the truth. Right there is the knowledge, the core value that God is bigger than anything. The ability of knowing who you are in Christ and Whose you are walked out in your actions.  What are your actions saying about your beliefs?

“Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and without falsity) as doves. [Gen. 3:1.]” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭AMP

Jezebel (Part 2)

In Jezebel, I went into detail about teaching and misleading the people of God to commit sexual immorality and what that means biblically. Now I want to take a look at eating things sacrificed to idols and what that means literally and figuratively as the word “eat” here in Revelation 2:20 can mean both.

To start with, historically, there was a woman there in Thyatira who proclaimed she spoke oracles and decided to begin to say she was speaking for God (called herself a prophetess- Revelation 2:20.). There was a temple of fortune tellers that a woman did preside over. As I read the history, of the area, this temple was supposedly one where people could hear from Apollos himself. What is more interesting is that this same temple was known as Jewish, Chaldean and/or Persian. Here is a direct quote:

“If the sibyl Sambatha was really a Jewess, lending her aid…and not discountenanced by the authorities of the Judeo-Christian church at Thyatira, both the censure and its qualification become easy of explanation.” (Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1872)

Sibylline Oracles:
“The prophetic utterances of women called sibyls in ancient Greece and Rome, believed to have been inspired by the god Apollo; collections of these utterances played an important part in the religious history of ancient Rome…They are now believed to have been composed by Jews, and later by Christians, both groups imitating earlier pagan oracles in their attempts to win converts…” (Universal Standard Encyclopedia)

She was not a believer in Jesus Christ. Yet, that doesn’t mean she didn’t pretend to be as I have already described in Jezebel. This is the first clue in why John,in Revelation, revealed this as a Jezebel. She acted quite like the queen in 1 and 2 Kings by leading God’s people astray why pretending to be a follower by marrying the king of Judah at the time. Please note the bolded statement above “attempts to win converts“. This is a concerning statement because thus began the adding to the simple grace, new covenant message that I talked about in my last blog. I also want to point out the following bit of information below:

“When a woman is used symbolically in Scripture, she represents a religious entity. This might be either positive or negative. On the positive side, there is Israel as the Wife of Jehovah and the Church as the bride of Messiah. On the negative side, there is the woman with the leaven (Mtt. Mat. 13:33), the Great Harlot of Rev. Rev. 17:1+, and here, the woman Jezebel.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 58.

Here we find that symbolically Jezebel can mean a religious entity trying to amalgamate (to mix or merge to make a combination; unite; combine; to unite two things to make it one) with the simple grace new covenant message and make it a message of works of law.  Let me explain further.

When we look at the words “eat food sacrificed to idols” we need to look at it without the glasses of “The Corrupt Church” or “The Worldly Church”. These are titles that were added later and were NEVER a part of the original text and can color the way we read something. They are NOT helpful. I want to look at the word tolerate, permit, allow, remit again from verse 20 in chapter 2. Here it is in Greek:

863 aphíēmi (from 575 /apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send”) – properly, send away; release (discharge).

This is the same verb that is used in Matthew 18 the famous chapter on FORGIVENESS. Yes, Jesus Christ was saying to this church…I have this against you, because you have released,  allowed, permitted,  sent away or FORGIVEN what this woman, Jezebel, is teaching and is misleading My people about committing sexual immorality, which I wrote about in my last post, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. It wasn’t that this church was slack in their “morals” or they were “corrupt” but that they forgave, remitted, permitted without confronting a very real problem within their church (body) community. This brought real harm to especially new believers in Jesus.

Now I want to make it clear that as Paul states in 1 Corinthians:

“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols?” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:4-10‬ ‭NASB‬

Food, whether sacrificed to idols or not does NOT COMMEND(3936 parístēmi (from 3844 /pará, “from close-beside” and 2476 /hístēmi, “to stand”) – properly, stand close beside, i.e. ready to present (exhibit).) us to God. It in no way brings us close to God. Nothing, no other act, no other work of ours will EVER bring us close to God. The one and only thing that EVER brings us close to God is our simple faith in our loving Savior Jesus Christ. No act of ours except our belief in Who Jesus Christ is will ever out do what Christ did for us. This is the sneakiness of what the enemy wants us to believe is that there is something more we have to do that will commend us to God. The truth of the matter is that Christ died for us, once and for all. The war is FINISHED. Jesus Christ won for us. All we have to do is believe and we are commended to God and the seal of that truth is the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in us. The very word used in 1 Corinthians 8:8 is part of the word Holy Spirit- para!

Once again Jezebel was trying to put extra tasks on the people of God saying if you do this or that it will get you closer to God when the truth is He lives in you when you receive Christ’s free gift.

Now God gave her time to repent (to turn, believe, see things His way).  To see Him in the new covenant of grace that He died to give. He also gave the church community time to deal with this very real problem. He was letting the whole church, His whole body, see that He searches the minds and hearts of all. Because the Body of Christ was not responding and calling out what was known to be “false teaching” and this was causing the little ones to stumble He, Himself, would cast (present singular tense used here -so that means this particular individual only)  “her”  into a sickbed (a couch, bed, portable bed or mat, a couch for reclining at meals, possibly also a bier.) rendering her incapable of continuing with her false teaching (Remember to see this as God’s loving kindness to her and others). In this lifetime the people that will follow in her footsteps (her children) will have tribulation (2347 thlípsis – properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”),2347 /thlípsis (“compression, tribulation”) carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” (“hemmed in”)) as they are truly intentionally trying to deceive His people. When people reject the Christ and what He has done this is a true sin-peshah (see Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more info on sin, iniquity and transgression). As people intentionally turn away from God they do feel hemmed in, no way of escape, troubled etc—definition of tribulation. This is His loving kindness bringing them to repentance. It is truly a way to bring them to the understanding of how much they need Christ. We need to remember His ways are higher than ours.

Yet, with the church in Thyatira, Jesus states–as many of you who do not have this doctrine I will put no other burden upon you. The church was NOT CORRUPT. They had simply allowed, forgave or remitted someone to teach that things other than Jesus Christ and what He did on the Cross could make you closer, more righteous, and/or holier to God. They did not hold to the doctrine of Satan—the wilfull addition to the Gospel of Grace by adding extra burdens to the Followers of Christ other than the simple understanding that we are ONLY made RIGHTEOUS in Jesus Christ.

imageWe must see this teaching as “the things of Satan” because it is in direct opposition to what Jesus Himself taught. The first is sexual immorality: as I described as pretending to be a follower of Christ and purposefully leading people away from the truth (see my last post) and of what Jesus Christ did for the whole world and that all we need to do is believe in Who He is (see What Does God Really Want From You? for more info). The second is: eating food sacrificed to idols,magic H would mean this food now holds special powers which is in direct opposition to the establishment of the New Covenant by Jeus Himself at the Last Supper where He clearly used food, wine and bread, to signify His Body and Blood that would bring ALL we would ever need. This is why this would be termed “the things of Satan” because the enemy always tries to counterfeit the real.

I hope this clarifies for you, as it has for me, what Jezebel in Revelation 2 means.

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.