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.

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

God Is Bigger Than The Boogeyman?

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

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

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

image

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Always Desires to Give More

imageThe law was born out of the prideful belief that we could do all things in our own strength. (Exodus 19:4-9). Now when we choose to believe (faith) in the fact that the law was fulfilled by Christ on the Cross, humbly accepting His free gift, we can now firmly say, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us”. (Phillipines 4:13) I am thankful for all Christ has done for me.

How Much Do You Trust God?

As we walk in who we truly are in Him, NOTHING can stand against what He has already purchased.

I want this statement to resound within you, within me, within everyone! I was texting with a friend and this statement came welling up within me, as we were talking about life. Jesus said He gave us peace, not as the world gives peace but as He gives. He goes on to say do not let your heart be troubled or dismayed. (John 14:27). The word Shalom is peace in Hebrew. The word shalom is so much more than just peace. Here is the list:

  • peace
  • wholeness
  • wellness
  • well being
  • safe
  • happy
  • friendly
  • favor
  • completeness
  • to cause to be at peace
  • to make peace
  • peace offering
  • secure
  • to prosper
  • to be whole
  • to be victorious
  • contentment
  • tranquility
  • quiet
  • rest

I believe so much of our history as Christians has been: if I, then God will. Or I need to do something: pray hard enough, be more introspective, make sure I don’t sin, go back through my family line and ask Jesus to take the sins of my family (reminds me of indulgences in the past which even the Catholic Church has quit doing). See our propensity, as humans, is to lean on ourselves and what we have to do to receive from God. For most people, I believe, it is truly difficult to simply receive. I am not saying don’t pray. Prayer is conversing with God and I do that all the time. I have become aware and I understand He is always with me, ALWAYS. Yet, the resting in Him may be difficult if I don’t have the deep understanding of what Jesus actually did accomplish at the Cross. When that is firmly deposited within me and I remind myself daily of that very fact it changes me on the inside. It also usurps Christian belief systems that have usurped what Jesus accomplished on the Cross.

Above was the statement: As we walk in who we truly are in Him, NOTHING can stand against what He already purchased. This is what I remind myself of daily- this means I simply am looking towards Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. As I walk in this I know there is absolutely NOTHING that can stand in what Jesus Christ did for me or for my family or for my friends. See here is where I know it is ALL about what He did and it is ALL finished. See here is where I receive the mind of Christ and NOTHING, no sickness, no sin, no curse, no condemnation, no ill spoken words, no bad news, no generational sin, no ___________ (put your own words) can stand against what He already purchased. He purchased us and then gave blessing, favor, wholeness, love, contentment, sinlessness, righteousness, prosperity. He gave us Shalom and so much more. All that is His He freely, openly, excitedly gives to us. That is automatically where we stand when we repent and see God for who He is. Simply put, all we do is believe: Jesus You are who You say you are, I believe! This very simple belief causes all to be exchanged for us in that moment. Now daily I stand in the belief and trust in Christ that nothing can stand in what He already purchased for me.  imageWhen something comes up in my life I stand proclaiming that Christ has already purchased my complete freedom, my wholeness, my Shalom- because His truth states whom the Son sets free is free indeed. The work for you and me was accomplished 2000 years ago on the rugged cross. Thank you Jesus!

Divine Exchange…It is Time to Heal

When you blog here it says….”Share your story here” and as you begin to type, those letters are replaced by your story.

It is time to share a bit of my story over the last six or so months. I do this so that you understand why I was asking God the questions I was asking. Asking things like, how did the disciples continue on when so terribly persecuted. How? I mean really, how? I have heard many things taught over the years, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, you will have what you need if this happens, etc. This is true yet, that wasn’t enough for me in this season of my life. I needed something more, a deeper understanding. 

The reason I needed this answer is because over the last half year I have seen and heard some pretty horrible stuff. This stuff comes at the hands of Christians. Shunning, character assassination, lies, division, and purposeful destruction-even to the point of trying to negatively impact jobs/businesses. Otherwise known as spiritual abuse. 

I had never heard of spiritual abuse, it is one of those nasty little secrets that those that are perpetrating it want to sweep under the rug and pretend it is not happening. Yet it is important for this to come out into the light and be talked about otherwise healing will not happen. Just like in any family where any type of abuse is occurring the problem must come into the light to be dealt with. We, as a society, do not tell people to stay in an unhealthy family situation where abuse is happening. So why in the world would we encourage people to stay in an unhealthy church situation? We need to encourage them to get free from any and all abusive situations. It is time for the church to look at what is happening within the four walls. Not every church has this problem but I am sad to say I have heard of so many people that have had a similar experience to mine. And it breaks my heart. 

All of these things I listed above happened to myself and my family-shunning, character assassination, lies, division, and purposeful destruction to the point that people that still attend this church are afraid to see us in public places and actually run away to avoid us. It is laughable now when it happens but it has been also very painful. All of this happened because I……….I really am not sure why. To this day I have not been told by any of those that are in leadership why exactly my family has been treated this way. I could make guesses, but relationship is not about guessing it is about communicating. Not only did this happen to my family, but other families who were only trying to do the right thing and love my family as Jesus would. They choose not to shun, to talk to us about what was happening, to get both sides of the story. All of a sudden whole families became blacklisted from the church just because they choose to ask questions and not shun my family. What this created in others, left in the church, as they saw some of this play out is a fear to reach out to people, which is nothing like what Jesus would do. It also has allowed the abusive cycle to continue. Absolutely crazy! Sadly though, it happens more often than we hear about. There are many others with a similar story at the hands of these same Christians. It is like a bad story that keeps repeating itself. I was a part of this abusive cycle, but now my family and I are thankful for God rescuing us. 

So, I thought my question to God was a valid one. I and many others have been hurt, persecuted by the very people who you think should “know better” and yet don’t. It is so sad. Am I mad, sure. Am I hurt, sure. Has this been easy, definitely not. Yet, God has and always will be faithful. I have been told: people will fail you but God never will. This is true. I understand that Jesus said we will be persecuted because of Him. I understand that. I think we never think it will come from inside the four walls of church. Yet, sadly it does. 

    This weekend as I was asking again, “How Lord, how did the early believers suffer such horrible things and continue on? I mean they suffered really horrible things.” He said, “it is the “Divine Exchange”. I said, “I understand that You were my Divine Exchange on the Cross.” He said, “Yes, I was and I still am.  The disciples learned to exchange their mourning for My Joy, their pain for My healing, their loss for My gain and on and on. The Divine Exchange.” That is why Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 4.  It is especially good in the Message version. Here is a bit:

Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory……So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭15&16-18‬ MSG)

So for me, at this moment, I now understand that by His Grace I have been walking in this Divine Exchange daily, sometimes moment by moment. As I hear of things said or done regarding me; my family; and/or my friends, I have needed God’s Divine Exchange. Is this easy, no way. Is God always there, yes way! So, I am looking at Him and He is Divinely Exchanging for me. I am not doing it. He is, as I turn my face to His. 

Core values and Grace

When your core values are in alignment with God then you are truly able to understand what God is revealing to you with dreams, visions, prophetic words and His Word.

Core values is where we live our life from, how we see God, where we make decisions from, how we see the world around us and how we see ourselves from. What is even more amazing is what we say and what we believe may conflict. We may say we are all created in God’s image and yet do we treat others as we say we see them? Do we treat others like they are created in God’s image? How about love one another? We say it but…..?

Yet, when we see all that God has done for us by sending His Son to take our place and bear all of God’s judgment of our sin, how much He loves us, how He sees us, the shift in our core values happens. Notice where my eyes are. They are not on myself but on God, on Jesus. My prayer for a few years has been, Father let me know You as You know me (1 Cor13:12). Remember He knows us so well even the number of hairs on our head (Matt 10:30). When I prayed that type of prayer, I did not know that to “know Him” would mean He would dig into those core values. But this is vital for Him to do. Be ready to let go of what you have been taught about your experiences for years that line up with the world’s way of viewing God, or the view of God that is religious and is NOT WHO He truly is- remember we have a picture of God in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4) And Jesus came to fulfill the law and do so completely (Matt 5:17).

What this meant for me was that He would want to replace my core values with His. This is a good thing. As you keep your eyes on the Father, experiencing Him through the Holy Spirit, His Word and He speaks to you of who you truly are-your core values begin to change, aligning with His Truth and all of a sudden you can’t help but to love yourself, love your neighbor as yourself, compassion is real and on and on–you are acting and doing what is your true nature given to you as a free gift of grace from the Father through Jesus on the Cross.

Your core values have changed by the Power of the Father in heaven through His Holy Spirit and you are walking in your true identity, in Christ-a new creation, a son or daughter of the Most High God.