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.

Coming soon…Why the race is about faith and not behavior….#Hebrews11 #Hebrews12

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.

 

 

Have You…I Have…But Now I Don’t Have To

Have you ever said:

  • I want/need more of God
  • Let’s go deeper with God
  • We need revival, Revival starts in us
  • I need to trust God more
  • Jump all the way in
  • Get deeper in the water
  • I need to chase after Him with all I am
  • I want to feel more of God’s love

I have said these words many times. Lately though, when I hear these statements made, there was something that made me go, Hmmmmmmm???? When that happens I start asking questions. Why do we say that? Is this just some type of Christianese statement? Is this necessary? Or maybe the most important question…Father how do You see this? Well that’s where I was at Monday morning. Some of my friends and my husband, as I talked to them about this added some of the above statements to the ones I had. If you have been in the church or around Christians you may have heard or used one of the above statements. Monday morning though I was asking God specifically about, ” I want more of You, I want to trust You more and I want to know/feel more of Your love”. When God speaks to me (and YES He SPEAKS to ALL believers) I hear Him, see the words, usually get a picture, and emotions all at the same time. It is usually a full body experience for me. So, when I say the words He said there was a large experience in this moment that I am hoping to capture for you. It was very simple…He said:

I HAVE ALREADY GIVEN MY ALL.

In that moment for me though came a rush of understanding with scripture and visuals that I would like to share with you.

The first was an emotion of complete peace. I understood I already had/have/will have all of Him in me, on my side I never need more of Him. How completely He loves me no matter what. He is working all things for my good. I NEVER have to chase Him, He is ALWAYS chasing me. There is no next level for me to get to because I have received it completely by believing in Who His Son is. All of us believers are on the same level, we all have issues God is working on and no one is better than someone else in God’s Kingdom. We dove fully into the water when we said yes to His Son and received His Holy Spirit that He breathed into us. And last but not least Revival is not a thing but a PERSON–the person that is right in front of you. Revival has and always will be simply walking in His Spirit which shines His light to the world around you. Share God’s freedom and love with those around you.

As the emotions and understanding were coming the scripture stories came. He reminded me about:

How a seed must fall to the ground and die to live (John 12:20-25)—this is what happens when we come to realize we can’t do this life without Jesus. Only through His death can we become free, alive and righteous (Romans 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:21; Philippians 1:11, 3:9; and 2 Peter 1:11) As we believe in Him-so we die to our old selves and then He breathes new life-and we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I have talked about faith and the mustard seed before in Do I Have Faith As Small As a Mustard Seed?!? Yet again this analogy holds true. I saw the faith that we come with as the mustard seed, which is all we need (Mark 4:30). This faith, this only commandment we must follow in the New Covenant is to simply believe in Who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us on the Cross (1 John 3:23). With that little seed of faith God does something wonderful for us. I did not say we do something!! He does!!! Let’s look at a tree (this is what God was showing me). The seed dies and life comes, and the tree grows. Does the tree cause itself to grow, NO!! Does the tree cause itself to flower, grow leaves, does the tree do anything…NO! Who caused the tree to flourish…GOD!! (Mark 4:26-29) It is the same with us. When Jesus talks about how Father takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers, Jesus is telling us God has us taken care of (Matthew 6:25-34). We, like the tree, do not have to work at having more faith, going to another level, getting deeper in the water, somehow thinking we are attaining something or getting it right. NO!! God is changing us, from glory to glory, growing us. We just believe in Jesus. He is our righteousness. I believe Who He is, what He says is true and rest in that…knowing He will cause ALL THINGS for my good (Romans 8:28). Just rest in His good soil and good water (Matthew 13:23). Rest in Him, you already have His more. You have His All. All His love, All His Holy Spirit, we have everything we need at any given moment, He chases after you relentlessly.

We really need to understand who we are to the Creator of the World. I had read this quote and want to share it here because I truly thought this was well said and is exactly how I understand my Father in Heaven feels about me and all of His sons and daughters:  “What if I tell them, us, His people, there are no lists to follow? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses or how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep? What if I tell them they are righteous with my righteousness? They can do no wrong right now. What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff, and jumpy around me? What if I tell them I’m crazy about them? What if I tell them even if they run to the ends of the Earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party? What if I tell them that I’m their Savior? They’re going to heaven no matter what. It’s a done deal. What if I tell them they have a new nature? Saints. Not saved sinners who should now buck up and be better Christians. After all, look what I’ve done for you. What if I tell them I actually live in them now, that I’ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them at their disposal? What if I tell them they don’t have to put on a mask? That it’s okay to be who they are at this moment with all their junk? That they don’t need to pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t pray, how much Bible they read or don’t? What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get too good, the other shoe’s going to drop? What if they knew I will never ever use the word “punish” in relation to them? What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never get back at them? What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me? What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them? What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I will never hurt theirs? What if I tell them I like Eric Clapton’s music, too? What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas hand bell deal with the white gloves at church? What if I tell them they can be open with their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven? What if I tell them there’s no secret agenda, no trap door? What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort but allowing me to live my life through them?”-Bill Thrall- Truefaced

This has been the essence of exactly what the Lord has been showing me over theimage last year or so. This is exactly what I desire and God desires each of His sons and daughters to firmly be planted in and believe. This is where we come to know we no longer need the above statements because it is already a reality. This is the reality I live in…come join me.