Gossip?!?!?; For One Day We Will Judge the Universe

Gossip…that word you have probably heard taught in the church; if you have been in the church for any length of time or maybe you have been harshly accused of gossiping. I have actually never heard a sermon on gossip, maybe your experience is different, instead I would be accused of gossiping when it seemed convenient to someone.  So never understanding what gossip is or isn’t has had me confused so many times I just stopped talking.  Being called a gossip, for me, is like being called a liar or a cheater and I don’t like that.  Plus I didn’t want to hurt people.  What I have found though is the word “GOSSIP” is used by many in the church to silence the TRUTH from being told.  This is when, as believers, we begin walking on dangerous ground.

“Truth”…something Pilate himself was looking for.  Something, as believers, we are to walk in, search for and be able to discern. Something I see many in the church not looking for; because they are afraid to be called a GOSSIP.

Today the Lord wants to bring clarity as He shared with me this statement:

Gossip is Slander

Simple, yet I believe so many in the church do not have a grasp on what gossip actually means in scripture in the Greek.  This in turn lends to bad teaching that has led to people unwilling to search out the truth, ask questions, and live a life from the inside out, unafraid.

As believers, we are to walk in the light as Christ walked in the light (1 John 1:7).  This is simply done by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him that He was enough of a sacrifice for the whole world. This leads to living from the inside out because we know He did what we could never do for ourselves and He is our righteousness. This trust leads us to lay in a place without fear of condemnation, punishment or separation from our Father in Heaven.  We know Him to be Father not judge.  From this place we can be honest, truthful and sincere because we have no fear of our Father in Heaven turning away from us.  Now, truthfully, have you seen a church like this?  Let alone maybe a IMG_1546person like this?  They are few and far between because the church teaches performance, fear, and condemnation as the way, the truth and the light rather than Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. See the latter is the Good News that Jesus wants told.

Once I realized the love of God, even after I accept His free gift, is not EVER  based upon my performance I am able to live open, honest, and in the light with God and with people. The people part is difficult only because there are so many still afraid to live in the same manner because too many Christians still believe after they accept the free gift there are requirements to stay in “right standing with God”. This is the FURTHEST from the truth.

The belief you must perform
to stay in “right standing with God”
is in direct opposition
to the TRUTH of the Good News

In actuality it is the opposite of the TRUTH of the Good News. AND what is even more interesting, this is similar to the meaning of GOSSIP–the opposite of truth regarding a person.  Here let’s take a look:
According to the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) version the word gossip is used five times in the New Testament.  It would be found in the following scriptures (in bold are the meanings of each word in Greek):

  1. “They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarrelling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips,”
    ‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5588-psithuristés: a whisperer; properly, a whisperer; a sneaky gossip (a “back-stabber”); a backbiter, quietly (secretly) destroying another person’s character – i.e. covertly, not out in the open, but rather operating “in a corner.” See 5587 (psithyrismos).
  2. “For I am afraid of coming and finding you not the way I want you to be, and also of not being found the way you want me to be. I am afraid of finding quarreling and jealousy, anger and rivalry, slander and gossip, arrogance and disorder.” 2 Corinthians (2 Co)‬ ‭12:20‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5587 psithurismos: a whispering; -properly, a whispering to “quietly” spread malicious gossip; “whispering” that launches “secret attacks on a person’s character” (Souter). [5587 (psithyrismós) is “an onomatopoetic word for the sibilant murmur of a snake charmer (Ecc 10:11)” (WP at 2 Cor 12:20).]
  3. Similarly, the wives must be of good character, not gossips, but temperate, faithful in everything.” ‭‭1 Timothy (1 Ti)‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  1228 diabolos: slanderous, accusing falsely; (from 1225 /diabállō, “to slander, accuse, defame”) – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship. [1228 (diábolos) is the root of the English word, “Devil” (see also Webster’s Dictionary);  in secular Greek means “backbiter,” i.e. an accuser, calumniator (slanderer). 1228 (diábolos) is literally someone who “casts through,” i.e. making charges that bring down (destroy). Satan is used by God in this plan – as a predictable wind-up toy, playing out his evil nature.]
  4. “Besides that, they learn to be idle, going around from house to house; and not only idle, but gossips and busybodies, saying things they shouldn’t.” ‭‭1 Timothy (1 Ti)‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭CJB‬‬.  5397 phluaros: babbling; prating, talking foolishly, babbling;  (an adjective, derived from phlyō, “to boil, bubble over”) – properly, what bubbles over (like a seething, boiling pot). 5397 (phlýaros) is only used in 1 Tim 5:13.
  5. “So if I come, I will bring up everything he is doing, including his spiteful and groundless gossip about us. And as if that weren’t enough for him, he refuses to recognize the brothers’ authority either; moreover, he stops those who want to do so and tries to drive them out of the congregation!” ‭‭3 Yochanan (3 Jo)‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭CJB.  5396 phluareó: to talk nonsense; : I gossip against, talk idly, make empty charges against, talk nonsense.; (from 5397 /phlýaros, “to bubble up, boil over”) – overflowing with speech “that is fluent but empty” (WS, 562). It is used only in 3 Jn 10. See 5397 (phlyaros).

From these definitions I looked up a couple of words: calumniate and Prating.  I am a stickler when defining a word not to use the word in the definition because it doesn’t illuminate the word at all.  So here is the definition to both words from dictionary.com:

CULUMNY: noun, plural calumnies.
1.a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:
The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
2.the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.

PRATING: intransitive verb 1:to talk long and idly

As you read through the definitions a few things becomes clear.  First there is a huge difference between how we define gossip today and the five Greek words used within the scriptures above.  It is quite clear from above the Bible is defining someone who knowingly, maliciously and on purpose decides to malign, lie, and make empty charges against both openly and quietly; their whispering launches secret attacks to destroy another person’s character; they choose to hurt, and destroy and to condemn a person’s character; and they desire to sever a relationship by doing all of this. As you can see from above, this is a tactic of the enemy; hence the Greek word “diablos”.  The Greek word above translated as “Gossip” is someone who is a false accuser or an empty accuser (full of air just bubbling over) that does not want to bring unity but disunity, not life but death and not healing but destruction.  Let’s look at the original meaning of the word “gossip” in English from Merriam-Webster dictionary:

History for GOSSIP:

At first the word gossip, from Old English godsibb, meant “godparent.” Later it came to mean “close friend” as well. Close friends, of course, share secrets. Gossip has come to mean anyone, friend or not, who shares the secrets of others.

The word GOSSIP is NOT
found once in the KJV

So, interestingly enough, if you look up the word “GOSSIP” in the King James Version (Old English) you will not find one scripture with the word “gossip”.  There are zero results.  We need to understand the meaning of the original Greek words translated as “gossip” if we are to judge the universe (1 Corinthians 6:2) and understand what was truly being talked about in the five scriptures referenced above.  In the first letter to the believers in Corinth Paul is referencing a problem that came up between two believers and one took the other to court and he is asking,

“Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?”….Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers?”(1 Corinthians 6:2-5).

One of the many things we need to understand, as believers, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us and we should be able to discern the truth from a lie.  But we must hear both sides of the story to be able to do so and then wait upon Holy Spirit to help us.  Is one side gossip??? The real meaning of gossip???  Is it a fabrication to bring down an individual, and why would this individual need to be brought down?  Is there something the enemy is trying to hide?  Paul and the apostles ran into this time and again as they brought the Good News and the enemy did not want the Good News to be believed.  So people would rise up and gossip (the real meaning) about the apostles in hopes the apostles would not be listened to.

As believers, we also must understand we need to be open, honest and truthful with what we experience.  We should be able to talk about circumstances that are unhealthy and tell our side of the story without the fear of being called a “gossip”.  For far too long the church has covered up great harms done to others by calling the truth GOSSIP and that is an unhealthy trait.  For it covers actions in darkness instead of bringing things to light to be dealt with in a loving, healthy way (Matthew 18).  I believe this truly happens because we are too busy trying to perform holiness, as we think we should, instead of simply knowing we are holy because of what Christ did for us on the Cross.

No longer be afraid to speak the truth when asked, search out the truth when something doesn’t sit right with you and judge the matters before you.  For one day we shall judge the universe.

It’s an Inside Job

Romans is one of my favorite books in the New Testament. Chapters nine and ten, in Romans, hold a few deep secrets that have been overlooked and/or cast aside for far too long. This season, is the season that God wants to reveal Himself for the truth that is found in the New Covenant and how He has never changed.  He wants us to look at the grand plan He has for this world, the people in this world that He loves so much.  He loves His creation, the people who are created in His image, so much that He sent His only Son to die on the Cross to offer ALL a free gift of righteousness and salvation.  You do nothing more than confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe, trust, have faith in your heart  (the seat of your soul and spirit) the fact that Jesus rose from the dead you then receive righteousness and salvation freely. (Romans 10:9-10).  This is the word of trust the apostles proclaimed according to Paul.

So what does righteousness mean?  Here is the biblehub.com definition:

1343 /dikaiosýnē (“divine approval”) is the regular NT term used for righteousness (“God’s judicial approval”). 1343 /dikaiosýnē (“the approval of God”) refers to what is deemed right by the Lord (after His examination), i.e. what is approved in His eyes.

What does salvation mean? Here is the biblehub.com definition:

Cognate: 4991 sōtēría (from 4982 /sṓzō, “to save, rescue”) – salvation, i.e. God’s rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety. See 4982 (sōzō).

4982 sṓzō (from sōs, “safe, rescued”) – properly, deliver out of danger and into safety; used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety). [4982 (sṓzō) is the root of: 4990 /sōtḗr (“Savior”), 4991 /sōtēría (“salvation”) and the adjectival form, 4992 /sōtḗrion (what is “saved/rescued from destruction and brought into divine safety”).]

Though before Paul talked about what we freely receive by trust he had to talk about what this really meant to the Roman Jews and Gentiles that would be listening.  Paul through the Holy Spirit articulated the bare truth of the word of trust and what it really meant to both Jew and Gentile.  So many times now I see the Christian church acting as though we still must fulfill the law to be considered holy, justified and in img_1335right standing with God.  Of course many Christians, me once being one of them, say they believe Jesus accomplished a great work on the Cross and He is Lord of Lords and yet our entire salvation and righteousness still hangs in the balance or is dependent upon my behavior whether it is good=I then am in right standing with God or bad=God has turned away from me and I must somehow make things right between God and I again.  Many Christians today believe this and it is flat-out incorrect beliefs.  Now it isn’t just me saying this is wrong and certainly not the truth but it is Paul who stated it way before me. These many Christians, again I was one who used to believe this way too, remind me of the Jews that Paul talks about in chapters 9 and 10 of Romans.  Here let’s take a look at what Paul says:

“So, what are we to say? This: that Gentiles, even though they were not striving for righteousness, have obtained righteousness; but it is a righteousness grounded in trusting! However, Isra’el, even though they kept pursuing a Torah that offers righteousness, did not reach what the Torah offers. Why? Because they did not pursue righteousness as being grounded in trusting but as if it were grounded in doing legalistic works. They stumbled over the stone that makes people stumble. As the Tanakh puts it, “Look, I am laying in Tziyon a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will trip them up. But he who rests his trust on it will not be humiliated.”” ‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭9:30-33‬ ‭CJB‬‬

“Brothers, my heart’s deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra’el is for their salvation; for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. Romans (Rom)‬ 10:1-4 ‭CJB‬‬

Paul is very clear: it is simply wrong thinking to believe we must pursue legalistic acts by following the Torah (Law of God according to Moses) to be able to be in right standing with God (otherwise known as righteous or holiness) or to have His salvation.  This thinking is not based on correct understanding.  They are actually desiring to seek their own righteousness and salvation and have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous.

Paul talks earlier in chapter nine about the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He talks about how the seed of Israel is in Issac.  Paul explains how the promise was given and those that believed in the promise were the seed of Israel. Here it is in scripture:

“For not everyone from Isra’el is truly part of Isra’el; indeed, not all the descendants are seed of Avraham; rather, “What is to be called your ‘seed’ will be in Yitz’chak.” In other words, it is not the physical children who are children of God, but the children the promise refers to who are considered seed.”
‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭9:6-8‬ ‭CJB‬‬

There is a little word “in” or in the Greek “en”. This word is so important even though it is so small.  Let’s look at what it means from the Greek:

1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).

Not every descendant of Abraham are seeds of Abraham; only those that are in Issac.  That believed, trusted in the promise God had given at that time to Abraham.  See Abraham, Isaac and Jacob believed God and to them was accounted righteousness and safety. Not dependent upon how good they acted but simply because they believed the promise.  It was an inside job.  Just like it is an inside job for us now living in the Glory of the New Covenant.  The season of grace.

“What if he did this in order to make known the riches of his glory to those who are the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — that is, to us, whom he called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles?” ‭‭Romans (Rom)‬ ‭9:23-24‬ ‭CJB‬‬

We are fortunate to live during such a time as this as we can freely receive righteousness-we are deemed right by the Lord after His examination, completely clean, completely holy, able to stand before our Father in heaven at all times because of Jesus Christ.  And we freely receive salvation-we have been properly, delivered out of danger and into safety; God has rescued us from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions (safety).

Next blog post, I will continue with God’s Bigger Picture and how God’s safety really looks like.

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!

Three Dreams

A few nights ago, I had three dreams in a row.  Each dream held a similar thread.  In the last dream the thread was very clear.  I had been on a sidewalk in a city looking up at a beautiful building that had a display window jutting out from a balcony.  It looked amazing and beautiful.  All of a sudden I was flying above the buildings and I could see the same display but from above.  In the display was a tree that had a trunk but no branches or leaves and from the tree trunk I saw spider webs that crossed the expanse of the display to other items in the display.  I was shocked and said to myself, “This isn’t the way it looked from below!”  Then I heard a voice say, “Remember, things aren’t always as they appear”.

I think this is just a simple reminder to me and His church, His Beloved.  I wrote a post on Correcting Perspective (click on link to read) and in this post, among others,  I v
discuss seeing God for Who He is and starting there.  When we start with the correct perspective whether we are looking at issues in our life, world or at God we are more able to see these issues or God so much more clearly.

img_2048In my dreams I was able to not only see from the angle everyone else saw the display but also from the angle God wanted me to see the display.  I just sense God reminding Christians to let Him change your perspectives, ask Him to give you the right starting point.  He will; but you may need to take a 180 degree turn (repentance) and let go of starting points or core values you really didn’t know you had until you come face to Face with Him at this time.  This repentance naturally happens in this circumstance, God changes the way you see.  I just feel like right now is a special time for a new starting point, for core values to be changed as we simply ask.  God always works on a timeline within our lives.  Knowing exactly when we need something and exactly when we are ready for it. I just sense this time is here for many people.

In my dream things were multidimensional just like God and just like the issues we face in our lives.  In my dreams things that appeared to look beautiful from my position were not what they seemed and the desire to not look further, not to want to see, to prefer to stay with the way I first saw the display tugged at me….yet the reminder rang loud and clear…Things aren’t always as they appear.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭MSG‬‬ (emphasis mine)

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)

The Bottom Line

Have you ever been in a meeting, a conversation or a church service where you just wanted to shout…can you just get to the bottom line?  I have,  thankfully I have never shouted the statement outloud……thank God for Holy Spirit self-control.  Yet Jesus talked about foundations many times and this bottom line, I believe, is foundational as everything else is built upon it in the New Covenant Kingdom.

When I began to blog in a very open and intimate way beginning with: It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law, there were many people who literally either loved or hated what I wrote.  What I find interesting is the all out hatred for the true grace or the true gospel.  I think the simplicity of the gospel frightens many because maybe their “status quo” in the church would be disrupted.  This same feeling is what I believe the Pharisees and Sadducees feared when Jesus came on the scene and why they hated Him so very much.

Jesus disrupted the “status quo” in their church/synagogue and they were willing to kill Him for that.

It really is not so different now.  Yet, I also know history will be kind to those that stood for the true gospel during a time on the history line where the church needed change.  There have been many who have also stood through the history of the New Covenant Church that brought about change and this is no different except…well it involves me, my family and many friends.  With any change it takes time and standing for what is true.

So, I began this writing adventure with a true statement and is seen as a common thread or the bottom line of every single post.  This is what I tell people all the time when talking with them because it is truly the encapsulation of the gospel.  It is so simple that even fishermen or I can understand it.  It is simply:

Knowing Whose you are and who you are in Jesus Christ.

It isn’t a bunch of steps, rules you have to follow, or a checklist of things you must do.image   We need to remember Jesus always said His yoke and burden is easy and light (Matthew 11:30). If you do not feel this way then I challenge you to truly look at whether or not you are living under the law in areas of your life.  The Holy Spirit will help you with this….just ask.

My life in Christ is so simple…it is like when I was a child (Matthew 18:1-6).  I simply believe in Who Jesus is- this automatically grafts me into the family line of Christ with all His benefits.  I know the truth- Jesus died for all my sin, all my shame, all my sickness and disease for ALL time.  When Jesus said it was finished-He really meant it.  Understanding my righteousness, the Holy Spirit and my eternal life are gifts I receive from my Father through His Son.  I haven’t done anything to deserve these gifts and I can not do anything to un-deserve them (except deny Jesus for Who He is and walk away (Peshah)–read Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4) for more understanding) -yet rest assured He is chasing after those with determination).  My heart beats with the desire for ALL people to know this truth, to live a life full of Christ and live in the full freedom He died to give us.  A place where you can breathe the air of heaven all the time.  Come join me in such a place.

This basic truth is the solid ground of the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 7:13-14 and John 14:6)

It Is Not This Way Among You…

One of my favorite stories in American History is about George Washington, after he was elected President.  There were men that wanted aplomb and a lavish entry for President Washington.  It became quite clear to George that they wanted to make him like a “king” instead of a person like everyone else that is trying the best he can with a government that was designed by the people, for the people.  George made it very clear he was not interested in looking “kingly” by saying, “I didn¹t fight George III to become George I.” George fully understood they had just fought a war not to have a king; why would we want to go back to what we fought so hard to leave?  When I had read that story years ago, it had reminded me of the Israelites wanting their own King just like all the neighboring people. Samuel warned them, told them they would not be happy with this choice and tried to convince them their King was better than any human king.  Yet, still they wanted to be just like everyone else…so they got Saul.  Humanity always is looking for a king in their life….I believe it is because God put the desire in us….we just need to look for it in the right place not at humanity but at God.

As humans, we tend to do what the Israelites did.  We tend to look at the story of Saul and David through the wrong starting point or the wrong perception. Maybe it is because this is what we have been taught for years in regards to this story.  Here is how I have learned what this story about David and Saul means maybe it is the same for you:

  • David did the honorable thing by not killing Saul so Christians should always treat their leaders with honor even if the leaders are not treating them with honor.
  • David never talked badly about Saul so we as Christians should never talk badly about leaders.
  • God took care of Saul and his wickedness so Christians need to just sit back and let God take care of the problems with leadership.
  • David then got promoted because of his good behavior so Christians you need to behave and then you will be promoted too.

These have tended to be the underlying theme in almost any message I have heard over the years about this story. Today though I would like to share a fresh perspective I believe came from the Lord to help me see Him and His Kingdom in His way (repentance).

As I pondered this story with the Lord, I felt He asked me a question.  That question was what might have happened if David had instead killed Saul in those two opportunities (1 Samuel 24 and 26).   The possibility that came to my mind was that maybe Jonathon wouldn’t have died at the hands of the Philistines. Now, I don’t know that for sure but I know God doesn’t ask a question just to ask…for me it is usually to get me asking Him questions…or He follows up with scripture for me.  He wanted me to take the timeline of Saul’s life (1 Samuel), why the people wanted a king (1 Samuel 10:17-19), Samuel’s warning to the people (1 Samuel 8:10-22), the point that David had already been anointed as the next king (1 Samuel 16:12-23)(he was righteous because of his faith in God (Psalm 32) and David fully understood where his authority came from–remember Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31-58)), David was never stripped by God from his kingship even though he made multiple mistakes and did not always act ‘honorably’, Saul killed himself and the Philistines killed his sons then beheaded Saul and fastened all their bodies to a rock (1 Samuel 31:1-13).  Next, He took me to the story of the sons of Zebedee. Remember when their mother came and asked Jesus for her sons to sit on His right and left (a place of honor) and Jesus said it was not His to give. Jesus used this very moment to teach and to help change His disciples thinking (repentance) about how leadership looks in the Kingdom of God. Here is what He said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:20-25, emphasis mine)

As I read this verse, I sensed Holy Spirit telling me the way this story of David and Saul has been taught is well….wrong.  The natural tendency for humanity is to want power, to lord it over people and for people to want to be led by a human rather than God Himself.  What really happens when this story is taught this way leads to a “Saul” or “Gentile thinking” leadership trying to be taught as the way the Kingdom works and this then causes a people who are reliant on leadership/pastors rather than the Holy Spirit who is now living in and through them.  Yet as Jesus said….It is NOT that way among you.  When we continue to use this story to speak of leaders as “kings/queens” (like Saul) and how laity (David) is to act towards them is well–detrimental to both the leaders Christ put in place and the people. I believe this story is used by pastors and teachers to “keep their sheep in line”, and makes people reliant on humans rather than a Father in Heaven who gave them a Holy Spirit because God truly desires direct communication with His Beloved. Jesus made this very clear when He said:

“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.” Matthew 23:8-10 MSG.

Jesus was making it so very clear that the playing field was level in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The people should not make it difficult for the leaders to serve, by not putting them on a pedestal and expecting the leaders to be Holy Spirit for them. Yet, what I have seen happen far too many times is leadership isn’t serving but lording it over the people and using the story of David and Saul to rally their ability to act in such a way. This then leads the people to be reliant on the leaders instead of God.  This can also in turn cause the enablement of pastors and leaders to spiritually abuse people, all in the name of God. The so-called “silence of David” is continually used to perpetuate another great crime against God’s Beloved Body (both leaders and people). The way this story has been taught for soimage many years have caused a great disservice to both leader and people.

It is time for the church to take a fresh look at a wonderful story with a fresh starting point that comes from the God’s Kingdom, not man’s.

Maybe what we need to teach with this Old Testament story is how God had opened up choices to David and even though he didn’t take those choices God was still with David because David believed (faith) and how secular government or a pastor/leader will never be able to be a substitute for the great, good and noble Heavenly King.  We need to remember in the New Covenant all people who believe in Who Jesus is receives the Holy Spirit.  Jesus truly leveled the playing field when He went and embraced the Cross for the whole world.

To see more of what I wrote on this subject read, Because of Christ Believers in Him are Seated in Heavenly Places