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

It Truly Can’t Get Any Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Is Just TOO GOOD…

…to keep to myself.

Once again I find myself going into some uncharted territory, although I touched on this in This is How Much He Loves You.  A good friend of mine had gone to see a speaker and she was telling me about a video that they watched.  As she was describing it to me she also was having a conflict for what she knows as truth and the message.  Here is the gist of it:

Fade in to Judgement Day and Christians are being judged: one man an accountant was supposed to be a pastor but didn’t do that, another man was a pastor and was supposed to be a pastor both fell short of what they were supposed to do.  Then a woman comes up and says all I did was be a mom and that was exactly what she was supposed to do (that was the good part or redeeming part of the video for her and me).

I have found in my 20+ year walk with the Lord this is a resounding theme within the church building belief system.  Let me explain: At the end we will be judged, even Christians, for what we did or didn’t do and our reward will be dependent upon what we did or didn’t do right according to what God has called us to do, like the story above.  What this has created is something not very healthy.  Many times it has led to spiritual abuse within the church.  See people, Christians, are so fear laden they can become frozen, unable to choose or they become puppets and can become used by those in power (yep…take a look at history or even present day people who have been abused by power).   I have many times had young people, or just people so afraid of making a choice until they hear from God. Both choices were great….but which one should they make…they want to make sure they choose right….and many times God is simply stating you choose I have blessed both.  God never intended us to be robots…He intended us to be Sons and Daughters of His.

So I went looking for where this belief system came from and I found some interesting info–

First, we must start with the right starting point. We must see God for Who He is.  This is why Jesus said repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near (Matt 4:17).  It was time for the people to change the way they saw God. See It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law.  When Jesus came to walk the earth it was time for God’s people to understand they would go from being servants (law) to Sons and Daughters (grace) by not what they did but what Christ came to do for them.

Second, the scripture used to make this point about Christ judging His own body is seen through the wrong starting point; thus making it look one way when it isn’t.  One of the scriptures I found that is used to support this thinking is from Romans 14:10-12 (others are 1 For 3:12-15 and 2 For 5:9-10):

“You then, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For all of us will stand before God’s judgment seat; since it is written in the Tanakh, “As I live, says ADONAI, every knee will bend before me, and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God.” So then, every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:10-12 CJB‬‬

Some will use gold, silver or precious stones in building on this foundation; while others will use wood, grass or straw. But each one’s work will be shown for what it is; the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire — the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work someone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward; if it is burned up, he will have to bear the loss: he will still escape with his life, but it will be like escaping through a fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 CJB

Therefore, whether at home or away from home, we try our utmost to please him; for we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 CJB

Let’s dig into each of these scriptures in order:

All will stand before God’s judgment seat because every knee will bend before God and every tongue will publicly acknowledge God.  It would be really, really wise to read the entire chapter….even the chapter before and after to get an understanding of the subject that is being spoken of.  The subject at the top of this chapter is TRUST.  Specifically speaking about a person whose trust is weak.  We are not to judge the weakness of his trust but whether or not he has trust (read all of Romans 14 and 15). At God’s judgment seat ALL (Christians and Non-Christians; living and dead) will publicly acknowledge God.  The next statement is that every one of us will have to give an account of himself to God.  The word account here is actually LOGOS in Greek.  WOW!  Let’s look at this closer in the Greek:

3056 lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying. 3056 /lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit.

[3056 (lógos) is a common term (used 330 times in the NT) with regards to a person sharing a message (discourse, “communication-speech”). 3056 (lógos) is a broad term meaning “reasoning expressed by words.”]

‘logon’ in Romans 14:12=answer or explanation in reference to judgment.

As we look at the entirety of Romans 14 we must take note that the answer to this judgement for believers in Christ would be I believed that Christ took all my judgement which simply means I trusted Him.

Next, is the scripture in 1 Corinthians 3.  Here Paul is trying to help the people understand the difference about living in the world versus living in the kingdom.  Paul is very clear that he has laid the foundation.  The foundation is TRUST.  Simple trust in Who Jesus is and what that brings.  I have talked about this in Fingerpainting to Masterpieces.  Paul is teaching how, as believers, we have died to our old selves and are a new creation made to exist within the kingdom although we are still living here on earth.  Paul is encouraging people to remain kingdom minded and showing or explaining to them how they are not.  He talks of behavior that shows they are not like jealousy and quarreling that have no “value” in the kingdom.  Let me put a thought forward here:  see when we go to judgement day the foundation is trust in Jesus.  On that foundation we will have built things some gold, jewels and others straw, grass.  In the fire the gold and jewels will withstand (kingdom) while straw and grass (earth) will not.  People who have lived more connected to the earth and their old nature will escape the fire but feel a profound loss of their “things” that they felt attached to:house, car, etc.  Those though that built with gold and jewels will not feel a profound loss at all.  These are things you can’t take with you but have a lasting impact on others: like time spent with others, love shown, food given, help given…these are kingdom minded.  Is this making sense?  I hope so.  It is not so much did I do the right thing to not be judged.  It is more the sense of loss of “things” of the world if that is what you felt is most important.  Now I am not saying things aren’t important it is where is your focus? Kingdom or world.  And this is done through trust first…like I talked about in Cart Before the Horse?

Last but not least, is the scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:9-10.  This sounds pretty damning. I don’t know about you but right there I would give up as a believer.  I could never perform well enough to not receive some pretty bad consequences.  How about you?  It feels hopeless to me if we stop short of reading a little further in the chapter.  What is being talked about in this chapter?  One thing I have stopped doing is reading or taking scripture out of context because what happens for me is hopelessness and a wrong picture of Who God is.  So let’s go into verse 11: So it is with the fear of the Lord before us that we try to persuade people.  What are we trying to persuade people of??

To trust in the Messiah Yeshua

and be saved from the bad consequences as we have been.

Or maybe it is better said by Paul in the end of this chapter:

For the Messiah’s love has hold of us, because we are convinced that one man died on behalf of all mankind (which implies that all mankind was already dead), and that he died on behalf of all in order that those who live should not live any longer for themselves but for the one who on their behalf died and was raised.  So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation — the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!  And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation, which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, “Be reconciled to God! God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 CJB

Can it get any better than that?  NO!!!  Hope arise, people of God!!

One of the things, as Believers, we must remember is that we have already been judged on the Body of Jesus Christ while He willingly put Himself on the Cross to take all of our judgment from the Father.  He completely undid what the first Adam did and gives us the free will choice to take His free gift He has already paid for.  As we trust in Who He is we begin to become who we are in Him from the inside out.  He does His work as we trust in Him.  We naturally walk in who we are.  Not always perfectly but He understands that and has already made amends for it.  Let’s become kingdom minded not self minded.  Self minded (I have to fix myself because God needs me to and I need myself to so that I will be loved by him is worldly thinking). As we live kingdom minded we know that we know that we know that the King has justified me so He will never judge me. (Romans 4:5)

Whether you are an accountant, pastor, mom or whatever…..that doesn’t so much matter.  I think the emphasis has gone into what is my calling, what am I supposed to do???  With so much fear and trepidation about simply making a choice and doing the best you can at it all the while living in the kingdom.  God is not going to judge you on whether or not you had the correct title.  He is going to test with fire (grass or jewels) why you did those things….the heart intent and you will fully see when He does at judgment day.  I know many people who are pastors in the workforce (like an accountant) and many pastors that are IMG_2740 3wolves in sheep clothing.  We need to understand we live from the inside out.  You live where your level of trust is.  God knows where your trust is and He grows it.  Just trust Him. The kingdom is kindness, compassion, love, tenderness, patience all the while persuading people of what Jesus’ has done for them.  We, as Christians live in two worlds here.  One is the world (tied to earthly concerns like what am I going to eat, wear) all the while we fully live in the kingdom (knowing that we are taken care of and are about kingdom: persuading people of what Jesus did for them).  It is not rocket science; it is simply living from the inside out with eyes wide open.

 

 

It All Begins and Ends With Trust

I have been studying blessings and curses and how it pertains to what Jesus did for us.  I have been also studying the armor of God that Paul talks about in Ephesians.  God will tell us things so that we pray, so that we stand.  I think the standing we have learned vs the way the early believers stood are different.  I believe this is because the early believers knew it was a fight for faith or trust above anything else-remember Paul firmly stated to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (‭‭2 Timothy (2 Ti)‬ 4:7) and also, “Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you testified so well to your faith before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12).

Faith meaning to believe, trust, cling to. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  In Romans 14:23 Paul states, “But the doubter comes under condemnation if he eats, because his action is not based on trust. And anything not based on trust is a sin.”.  Now, no worries here because Paul talks more about faith or trust here in Romans 12:6 “But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust;”. And remember Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man takes and sows in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up it is larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the birds flying about come and nest in its branches.”” Mattityahu (Mat)‬ ‭13:31-32‬ ‭CJB‬‬. Also Paul stated, “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.” ‭‭Ephesians (Eph)‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭CJB‬‬. So, we start off with a mustard seed and God grows our faith which is a gift of God.

Some may have more trust in one area and another more trust in a different area….that is why Paul said, “or, to put it another way, so that by my being with you, we might, through the faith we share, encourage one another.”  The common faith, trust or belief in Who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us we have as believers when we come together we are able to encourage one another as God grows our faith in who we are in Him through our life circumstances.

I refuse to make the enemy bigger than God (read Why Seek Something Inferior??? (Charlie Game) or God Is Bigger Than The Boogeyman?) or believe that God doesn’t know the circumstances that are going on in my life (read God’s Big Plan).  Faith or trust in Who God is and all of what Jesus Christ did for us in His death and resurrection is exactly what the enemy wants us not to trust or believe in.  We tend to think it is about the circumstances when truly the enemy is trying to bring doubt to our belief or trust in ALL that Jesus did and how the Father loves us.  img_1365This is truly the enemy’s tactic.  The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust.  That is what he is roaming about to do.  Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust. So with this foundation in the next post I will get into either the armor of God or blessings and curses…..stay tuned. 😊 This is exciting stuff!

The Joy of the Lord Is My Strength

This is just such a beautiful revelation from the Word of God…

I was talking with someone I know over Messenger and as I have many times in the past said or reminded myself the joy of the Lord is my strength from Nehemiah 8:10 she was asking for prayer to have the joy of the Lord amongst other things.  Here is what I wrote regarding the joy of the Lord.

“….and the joy of the Lord was to get up on the Cross for us and He is your strength in you through His Holy Spirit (literally I just now understood this, wow that is good Lord).”

Let’s look at the scripture the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance and help you see what I saw and then dig into the Hebrew and Greek.  This is so absolutely beautiful I can’t wait to share more.

“fixing 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.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”” ‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭8:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.”                        ‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The word joy in Hebrew is chedvah which literally mean joy.  It is found twice in the Old Testament which you see above. Please note that strength and joy are in His place. In Nehemiah chapter 8 we find the people realizing there is a holy day called the festival of the booths which signifies God with them among other things.  Remember “in His place” a representation of being with God in His place.

The word in Greek for joy in the above two New Testament scriptures is xará (chara) and the short definition is joy, delight, a source of joy. Yet the fuller meaning is:

Cognate: 5479 xará (another feminine noun from the root xar-, “extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed”) – properly, the awareness (of God’s) grace, favor; joy (“grace recognized”).

[The etymological link between 5463 /xaírō (“rejoice because of grace”), 5479 /xará (“joy because of grace”) and 5485 /xáris (“grace”) – i.e. that they are all cognates – is observed by LS (p 1,976), Zod (Dict), CBL, Wigram’s Englishman’s Greek Concordance (Ed. Ralph Winters), Word Study Greek-English NT (Tyndale, Ed. Paul McReynolds) – see also DNTT (2,356) and TDNT (9; 359,60). http://www.biblehub.com

Let’s put this all together now.  We take the above scripture from Hebrews and first we realize who the letter was penned to. It was Jewish believers in the Messiah. Second, we look at the wording (If you would like to see full wording click here for biblehub site: http://biblehub.com/text/hebrews/12-2.htm: )

Jesus who in view of the joy because of grace “lying before” (Definition: I am set (placed, put) before, am already there.) before Him endured the cross.

Jesus who in view of the knowledge of grace that was set, placed, is already there img_1290endured the cross for the whole world so that the whole world could freely live in His joy and strength because we have joy because of grace that we freely receive from Him when we acknowledge Who He is in our life, endured the cross.  Just like the booths in the Old Testament but so much better because it isn’t a representation of God with us…it is literally God in us.  When we realize the fact of God is in us you realize you have strength and joy because of grace. Because the Triune God lives in us and through us, all the time as believers in Jesus Christ. Every time I think about how much God loved us and desired so greatly to live in us that He would send His Son and His Son would pay our price all to be able to come live in us. Wow, amazing joy because of grace!

The Struggle Is Real 

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

How many times have you used this scripture to remind yourself of what is truly going on behind the scenes?  I have used it many times; yet I don’t think I truly had a definite core value regarding it.  Remember I have talked about core values, how they line up with your actions and how your actions don’t always line up with your words; you can read more in these articles: Simon of Cyrene and Core values and Grace. I believe we have all had AHA! moments with God.  This is when we see God clearer and where true repentance happens in that moment; when we see things the way God sees them.

I had started this blog stating I would share openly what is happening with me, an open life journal.  There are times this is fun and at times it isn’t. Yet, I choose to live from the inside out in honesty.  Why a public forum???….maybe it will help someone else.

I had been talking to my husband, Bryan, over a month ago.  There had been a situation that had happened and I was angry at the injustice in it and the history that I have seen and heard about regarding these same people.  I looked  at Bryan and I said, “I hate them, no don’t look at me like that, I hate them!”  Now my husband and I have been married for nineteen years and thankfully he knows when to let me just say what is in my heart and let the Lord deal with me, haha!!  I went on, “My mom told me not to say I hate someone, I can say I dislike them but not hate. But Bryan, I hate them.” Later as scripture flooded my heart like: hate in the heart is just like murder and you aren’t walking in the light because you hate it would have been easy to be overcome by self hatred and failure like I had in the past.  But see I know the trick of the enemy, he loves to use scripture to always tell me I can’t measure up.  So, I agree with him in the truth that I can’t live up to the law, ever.  But I know Someone who has….and that is Jesus!!  In that moment I am so thankful, grateful for all that Jesus did for me and the whole world and in that thankfulness something always happens for me but first I had to be open and honest with what was going on inside of me.  If we start at the wrong starting point with God and see Him as a judge of our actions and not realizing all of God’s wraith has been taken on His own Son then we are fearful and can’t approach God with what is going on inside….and we begin to pretend that all is well (saying no, no I am in control of my emotions I don’t feel that way) and all we are doing is painting the outside as good and not dealing with the inside and we know God is more interested with our inside.  We must acknowledge the truth of what is going on inside of us.  Jesus took the law all the way to our hearts, trying to show us we can not ever perform this, but He could fulfill the law for us.

So, what do I do with this???  This very real feeling of hate in my heart?? These were real things that someone has done, is doing and may continue to do until God gets ahold of them.  I think it was about a week later when God spoke to my heart and this is what He said:

Darlene, you don’t hate the person you hate their actions. It is the action not the person you hate. This is what it means when Paul was explaining to the Ephesians that the fight is not against flesh and blood but the powers and principalities of darkness.  It is okay to hate wicked “acts” but you really don’t hate the person because the person has been made in My image and you walk in Me, in the Light, it isn’t who you are.  What you are railing against are the powers and principalities of darkness.

Here are some scriptures that go along with what He told me:

“”The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭8:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Hate evil, you who love the LORD, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms‬ ‭97:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Now I was able to see things more clearly, literally dividing the person from their actions.  Look, I fully understand that I am not perfect because I know the Perfect one climbed on the Cross willingly for me and the whole world.  People choose to do evil things to one another but that doesn’t define who they are. Jesus defines who they are, they are still created in God’s image.  Does this mean that these actions are okay…no……and I wrote more about this in: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) and Has “Sorry” Lost Its’ Potency (Final Part)

Just because I have forgiven the person for their behavior does not mean that I need to trust them, or be around them.  Nor does this mean I should not look at and judge the actions they have made.  Note I said judge their actions; I didn’t say judge the person.  Lastly, remember forgiveness doesn’t come overnight, it is a process of healing with God and friends. You can read more here: We Stand In the New Covenant.

img_1280Now, I feel like I have written on my heart:  “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  This is simply Jesus in His fullness….I in Him and Him in me.  I do not have to make an effort within myself not to do something….because literally Jesus has changed me from the inside out.  This is where I have the privilege to walk everyday, because of Jesus.

✨ Let Your Light Shine ✨

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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