Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Be transformed..... How does it work?

Key 5 Transform: We are being transformed by fully believing in the Truth and yielding our soul and body to God.

     In Key 5 Transform, we learn how to live out who we are in Christ. We are beings with a spirit, a soul and a body. Our spirit has been made completely righteous and holy by and before God. This is the good news of the gospel. This is who we really are in Christ. Now as we choose to believe the reality of the gospel, our soul and body will be transformed as well. We grow as we choose to believe gospel and live and walk within this truth, fully resting in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
     We are not trying to change ourselves because at the core we are already transformed by the finished work of Christ. The focus of Key 5 is now resting, abiding and living in this truth. The truth is that God through Christ has made us completely new. As we focus on transforming our thinking, we align our whole selves with this Truth as we abide in the Word of God. Our thinking in our soul transforms and our behaviours transform, coming into alignment with the completed work of God in our spirit. Our behaviours will begin to change and really match who we are in the spirit.
     The Bible says “walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the deeds of the flesh.” The order of this command is important. When we walk in the Spirit, we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit is first. Behaviour comes as a result of the first. Walking in the Spirit is the same as fully believing God’s Word and living out God’s way. As we fully believe God’s Word, we will desire to stop doing ungodly, fleshly things because our inner most values in our mind will be transformed. This process will not be hard. It will be natural. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The Christian life is not designed to be hard. It’s impossible in the flesh, but it’s not hard in the spirit. It’s easy and light. If the process seems hard, we are trying to change ourselves, instead of believing and resting in the finished work of Christ in us.
     We live by faith alone which means on a daily basis we are trusting the Lord that He has saved us, and is living out that salvation within us for all to see. There is no independence in our spirit. Our spirit is connected to God and totally dependent upon Him. Our spirit dwells in the unseen world where God is. Our spirit is always seated in the spiritual realm in God and receives commands from God. So we must now learn to live as a whole being by faith alone in God, not by sight.
     Throughout the years our sight and senses have been aligned and trained by the world system. This has come through parents, school, friends, TV, books and a variety of sources all claiming that their view of reality is the truth. We have come to know that only Jesus can define our reality and the reality of His creatures. So we must now look at sight and senses in a new way. Sight and senses will try to deceive our true selves and keep us focused on earthly things. So we must filter everything we see and hear and experience through God’s truth.
     God has given each of His believers the gift of His Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit walks beside and within our spirit instructing and guiding us in truth. He continuously works from within us, giving us wisdom, understanding, and equipping us for everything. He knows that we have been transformed at the core, in our spirit, and wants us to live that reality out according to the Father’s will. God gave us the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
     The picture the scriptures use to show the covenant relationship we have with Christ is circumcision. It was through circumcision that an Israelite child was brought into the covenant God made with Abraham. The foreskin was cut away from part of man used for the joining of husband and wife in an intimate relationship in a marriage covenant to give the picture that the flesh was removed as a sign of the intimate covenant with God. In a marriage relationship, the two people become one flesh and one spirit, symbolizing the oneness of the unity of Christ and His church. The spiritual picture is that God in the new covenant will cut the flesh of man away and be in covenant relationship with his spirit. This is a picture of new Israel in Christ.
     God is our Master and He reigns in us. Yet, sin or this independence still dwells in our soul and our body. This independence is called flesh in the Bible. When the Bible is using “flesh” in this sense, it is not thinking the physical flesh you see. The flesh in this sense means the independence residing in the soul and body. The flesh is NOT us, but it dwells with us. The truth is that sin no longer needs to reign in a believer. But the reality of the Christian life is the walking out of this truth each moment of the day.
     According to our belief, the flesh will either have power over us or no power over us. Sin’s power, if we walk by faith fully believing the gospel, has been removed by the death and resurrection of Christ. It is according to our faith that we experience the overcoming power of God as we walk in the Spirit. Through our new birth, we are children of God. Our new spirit cannot sin or be separated from God again. Our new identity is sealed by God through His Spirit within us. Nothing will change the reality of who we are. We grow as we learn to BE who we truly are, filtering all information we receive in through our senses through the filter of God’s word. We learn to identify thoughts and values we held which are contrary to Truth, taking them captive into obedience to Truth.
     The soul, which is our mind, will and emotions, has a tremendous ability to either walk in the spirit or walk in the flesh. The mind’s way of making decisions is through the conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is where we will things to happen. The subconscious mind is where the emotion and values are seated. Although we will things through the conscious mind, this will is not stronger than our emotions and values embedded in the subconscious mind. Our behaviours will go against the will and live out the emotion and value part of the mind. These are our core beliefs.
     Our bodies move in response to what we value. So our behaviour reveals what our soul truly believes. Actions speak louder than our words. We live out what our soul believes. If our soul’s values are fleshly, our behaviour will be fleshly too. If our soul’s values have accepted God’s truth as true, then our behaviours will be godly. This is why Jesus said people will know His disciples by the fruit of their lives. We cannot fake Christianity. We can try to live godly for a while, but we will eventually behave according to what our soul has accepted as truth.
     All we have learned from education, from family, from friends and any other sources, now must be brought in line with the Truth of God’s word. As we learn to think differently, we work at believing. Our soul will resist, but as our values transform, our behaviour begins to change, aligning with the reality of who we are as a new creation in Christ. As we grow, new godly values will replace the worldly values in our subconscious mind. In time, the soul and body become trained in righteousness as we choose to believe God’s word. Our bodies will transform as our actions begin to follow the truth our soul now believes.
     Our work, as a Christian, is not to try to improve ourselves or do great things FOR God. Our work is to fully believe Him, loving Him and working WITH God as He sets captives free to the praise of His glorious grace. We can choose to believe the truth of who we now are and live in the freedom Christ secured for us, or we can choose to not believe and live like captives even though we are actually free.
     The focus of Key 5 Transform is not trying to transform ourselves. The focus is just BEING who we truly are. As we walk in the Spirit, abiding in His Truth, we DO great things WITH God. Our doing will flow from abiding in Him, not trying to do great things. When we do something with God, we will know it’s not really us doing it, but God doing the work in and through us. Our response will be to thank Him, giving Him praise for transforming our lives, bringing beauty from ashes, giving us meaning and purpose beyond compare as He allows us to work with Him.
     God accomplished something beautiful in us through Jesus Christ, not for us, but for the praise of His Holy Name as He brings all His creation back into alignment with Himself.

Monday, December 27, 2010

True Health

     Have you ever grown up in a family you thought was healthy and realize it was not? I suppose many of us have. All families are born into disconnection with God and live within that reality, defining meaning and health according to what we think and believe to be best.
     As I learn to walk in truth, abiding in Christ, I see more and more what true health is like. I see what freedom there is in health.  I see what joy there is in health. I see what fellowship there is in health.  Darkness and light become more clearly defined. 
       I'm realizing that what we think is health is being redefined by God, who lays out what true health is through His Word. We begin to see see that we fall short of true health in our families, in our relationships, in our view of ourselves. As God reveals true health to us through His Word, we walk in the light, and we see. Things become more clear. Truth now defines us. Not others' opinions. Not our success in our jobs. Not relationships we hold dear. Truth.
      God is restoring us to health and wholeness. He is restoring us to a life of freedom and peace, above the pull of the world.  He is restoring us to living within systems of true love, free from agendas, free from alterior motives.  As we walk in the light, being who we are as light, we begin to truly live.  We are no longer rocked by the circumstances in life or by the unhealth of others.  We begin to truly see.  And people become more healthy by being around us.  The health within us begins to influence the systems around us.
          Jesus is the truth and the truth sets us free.  I am seeing that God really means this -- literally.  He means that we will walk free, vibrant lives in Him, as we abide in His Word -- as we rest in His truth,  as we fully walk by faith in Him alone.  He redefines reality for us through His eyes.  He gives us understanding through His Spirit inside us. 
     I'm so thankful to be seeing this... finally.  To be understanding that God is truly sufficient. That the Christian life is not hard.  That fully believing the truth really sets us free, in this life, in our families, in all our relationships, in our jobs, in every experience we have on earth.  It's not just a phrase or a hope for the future. It's an actual reality of our lives now. Walking by faith in our creator brings deep fulfillment and joy as we walk with Him proclaiming His message of hope to others.  In this walking with Him, we walk more and more free, more and more living within the health of who we truly are.  God has made us healthy in Christ in our spirit. and now He is making us completely healthy through our thinking and behaviour.  He is making us whol.  We become truly healthy, not as the world defines, but as God defines.  True health is so beautiful and free.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Story of the King

Someone was calling my name. As I cowered in my hiding place, a light shone into the darkness. As the light reached my face, I knew I was exposed. Raising my hands above my head, I stepped forward to face my captors. My chains jangled loudly around my ankles, biting into my skin. Slowly, pressed between the guards, I walked the slow walk to the King. As we entered His throne room, I saw Him. My breath caught in my throat at the sight of His eyes. My friends had told me He was cruel. They told me to run from Him and to hide, so that I could really live free and enjoy my life as I wanted. They said He was a cold and calculating Man, manipulating His subjects with laws, holding them back from really enjoying life.

Now, as I looked into His eyes, I couldn’t look away. A powerful, penetrating Light radiated from Him. I felt Glory and Power surge through Him; the Glory of a Truly Righteous Man. And to my astonishment, I felt such Love. An overwhelming Love like I had never known before.

My face burned as His eyes pierced through me. He saw me and He knew me. I longed to hide, but I could not run. He called me by name. He knew who I was. I felt laid bare before Him. I felt so unclean. Deep sobs welled up in me as I fell to my knees before His throne. The law declared death to anyone who broke even one of His commands. I willingly had broken many, over and over again. Guilt weighed down on me. I felt completely ashamed. I was His enemy. I knew I deserved death. Bowing in complete surrender, I bared my neck to this King.

I felt the cold edge of His blade on My neck. It rested against my skin. Ever so gently He lifted my head, and spoke right into my heart. You have sinned against Me, He said. You lived your life after your own will, violating my Law and My Truth. You deserve to die. You have become unprofitable to Me, a waste of a human life.

Slowly He raised the sleeve of His robe uncovering a gaping scar on his wrist. In obedience to My Righteous and Holy Father, He said to me, I gave My Life for You. I paid the penalty for your sin. Because of My Father’s love, I willingly laid down My life, so that you might live. Look at my hands. See the scars where the nails pierced through. I suffered humiliation in the hands of sinful men for your sake. I was falsely accused. Men spit on My face. They stripped my clothes and nailed Me to a cross. I died the death that you deserve, despising the shame. For the joy set before me, I endured the cross. I did not do this for you. I did this for My Father’s glory, for His Name’s sake. You do not deserve this Love. But because of My Father’s mercy and the Love with which He loved you, I gave My Life in exchange for yours. For it pleased My Father to bruise Me. In My death, I glorified My Father and you were set free. I perfectly obeyed My Father, totally trusting His Love, and fulfilling all that He commanded Me to fulfill.

As I hung on the cross, My Father poured all of your sin, every independent act you have done, into Me. I bore the full weight of His wrath against you and your sin, and, in the agony of My soul, was separated from Him and entered death for you. I died the death you deserve and was in the tomb three days and three nights. But death could not hold Me; It was for your sin, not My own, that I paid this price. I lived a sinless life, in absolute faith in My Father. My Father raised Me from the dead and I am now Alive.

If you turn to Me now, you must completely surrender. With your whole heart, admit your guilt before Me, confessing that I am now the sole Ruler of your life. Admit that you have sinned against My Father and that you believe that He raised Me from the Dead. We will remove your guilt and forgive your sin. I will save you and you will be one with Us. We will make Our home with you, making you new and righteous in Us. We will work within you through My Spirit Who I will give to you. He will cause you to obey Our law. You will enter into My Father’s righteousness and live with Us forever. You will become a slave to Righteousness, daily yielding your body and soul to Us, living for Our Glory alone. You will obey the Word we speak, for We do not lie. You will not be your own. You were bought with a price.

If you choose not to surrender, you will remain in your guilt and you will surely die. You will be cast from my presence and exist in death forever, where there will be weeping and utter torment.

As He rested the blade of His sword across my exposed neck, memories of my life flooded my mind. I had lived a wanton life, living only for myself. I had wanted to be free, not under the control of a King, but had become a slave to my own desires. Now as I humbly kneeled before this King, whose Presence filled the entire room, I knew how foolish I had been. How blind. As tears streamed down my face, I confessed my guilt before this Righteous King, gratefully receiving His merciful gift of Life.

He removed the sword from my neck. He lifted me to my feet, removing the chains from my feet, and, to my amazement, He washed my filth away. In awe, I looked at Him, His Love penetrated my heart, washing me, renewing Me, filling Me with His righteousness and Sealing Me in His Spirit. As He embraced me, He called me His child. You are now Mine, He said. I Love you with an everlasting Love. I declare you righteous because I have made you righteous through the cross of My suffering. I will never leave you or forsake you. We will walk together, enjoying each other, working together to see my Kingdom advance on the earth. I have come to proclaim good news to the poor, to bind up the broken hearted, to set captives free. I give sight to the blind and make the lame walk. I came that you might have life and life more abundantly. I am your Life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Complete in Christ

If you are a believer, you are complete in Christ. You are beautiful. You are righteous. You are holy. You are not broken, not dysfunctional and you don’t need fixing. You are fixed. You fully function and you can live a godly life. Now that you are transformed, you move to work with God in His Kingdom. God’s love within you is a passionate love moving us you the direction of His heart and His ways. God is sufficient for you, and He is working in and through you to will and do for His pleasure. You cannot ultimately fail in your walk with God. You can only grow. You grow through suffering, falling forward in your failures; learning and growing through pain and struggle.You are fully who you are. Now be and believe who you are and made to be.

God hates religion. Why? Because we start trying to gain what we can never attain through our effort. We try to do what we could never accomplish. We try to be what we could never make ourselves be, and then we despair. We give up. We mope around. We live like hell on earth, when we have heaven within us if we are a believer. We bring dishonour and shame to our God because we fail to believe that what He said He would do in us, He has actually done.

Why do we struggle to believe? Because we don’t always see the evidence of God’s word in our lives YET. We don’t FEEL it’s true. So we try to change our feelings or change our behaviours, when all we really need to do is believe our God. We turn our focus to ourselves and try to improve. We create support groups, bible studies, prayer meetings, all with the focus of improving ourselves. God looks and seems to say, “What is there to improve? You are already perfect. My work is complete. Won’t you just accept this gift and believe Me? I am so glorified when you believe Me.”

The just shall walk by faith. Why? Because we know that we can never accomplish what God has done in us. We could never figure it out on our best day. How could we ever comprehend what God has done through Jesus Christ. This is the mystery of the gospel. Its beyond us. It’s a plan that God purposed in Himself since before the beginning of time, before the foundation of the world, moving events, people, raising up and casting down thrones and powers, bringing death and life, working all things together for His glory and Name sake. How could we ever possibly figure this out? How could we ever try to earn it? We do not deserve it. We were lost, lost, lost. And if He didn’t reach into the darkness and call our name, we would still be lost. God found us and He called us to Himself in Christ Jesus when we surrendered to the Son.

You did not seek God. He sought you. You did not find Him. He was found by you. That’s a big difference. He orchestrated all the events of history, all the events of your life to bring you to Himself. Your life is His design. He formed you in your mother’s womb. He wove you together, counting every hair on your head. He placed you in a certain family, in a certain town, in a certain culture, in a certain language group, in a certain country, and He did all this according to the counsel of His will, according to His good pleasure. You did not seek Him. You did not give your life to Him. You were dead. You were without hope. When the time was right, He called to you. He gave you the ability to hear His call. He authored your faith in Christ Jesus. He birthed you through His Spirit and so you live. You were dead and now you are alive. It’s by His grace you have been saved, through faith.

After all He did to save you, it’s tempting to think He chose you because you were somehow special. It might be deflating to know He did not do all this just for you. His goal was not to fix your life, get your marriage together, help your children, get the right job or give you success in this life. He did not send His Son to die for your sin for you. He did it for Himself, for the sake of His Name, which was being profaned among the nations because of you and all who lived independently of Him. He sent His Son to earth to model for us what we were not willing to do -- love God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbours as ourselves. Jesus perfectly lived out the law of God on this planet, in complete faith and love. He loved God with His whole heart, soul, mind and strength and He loved His neighbour as Himself. Jesus walked in perfect trust to His Father, knowing that, even in torture and death, God was good and was working all things according to His righteousness and character.

In Christ, God is reconciling His creation to Himself, bringing it back its purpose, the praise of His glorious grace. Why? Because He alone is good and righteous, full of mercy and loving-kindness. In His righteousness, His wrath burned against the unrighteousness of mankind. In His love He chose to redeem us, creating a new humanity in whom He would live, working out His will from within their hearts. Christ saved us from the Father’s wrath to the praise of His glory.

So He chose you, calling you by name, and He saved you, giving you a new heart and new spirit when you surrendered to Him. He washed you in the blood of His Son and taking away all your filth, removing your sin forever. You are no longer an independent being, separated from God. You are a dependent being, who is holy and connected. Nothing will ever separate you from Him again. You were not saved by your effort or religious activities. You were saved by His grace, through faith. He gifted you this faith. You didn’t even come up with the ability to believe on your own. It was a gift of God, authored by Christ Jesus.

So agree the Truth of His word, beloved child of God, thank Him for what He has done. The work in you is complete. Now He invites you to get to work with Him, as He sets up His kingdom. You are His ambassador, the letter of His grace, the light through which He will now shine His light to the world. You can’t try to do this; you must believe Him, fully resting in Him, fully abiding in Him, His word and His love.

You long to obey Him. You delight in His law. You hunger and thirst for righteousness and you long to be on mission with your King. This is the reality of who you are as the new creation in Christ. He will work in and through your life, bringing impact to the world around you. As you go with Him, your thinking and behaviour will transform. You won’t try to change, try to go to church, try to pray or try to read your bible. You want to because you love your King and have abandoned yourself to Him. You know you are saved by His grace alone. The impact God will make through your life will last forever and ever. The key is just to love Him.

The problem with religion is that it doesn’t work. God hates religion, because religion is man’s attempt to accomplish a work for God. God doesn’t need your help. You are not transformed by religious activity and God is not honoured by what you try to do. He wants your love, to love Him with all you are.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is it Real?

Think of salvation like getting hit by a semi-truck going 700 kph. If that truck hits you, you will feel the impact. You will not be the same; you’ll be in the hospital, you might be dead, but you will not be the same. There is no denying the reality of that impact. Which is greater, a semi-truck or Almighty God? If someone says they have been impacted by God, but there is no impact, either they are lying or mistaken. If God saves you, you are saved. You are a transformed being. You are completely impacted. The experience of this inner transformation is realized only by faith, by fully believing God and resting in His finished work. We walk out the Christian life by faith and not by sight any longer; we are not trying to be somebody; we ARE somebody. We are not trying to do something for God, we walk with our King being who we are, and He expresses Himself in and through us to the world around us. We are light, so we live as light in the world. Light shines in darkness, yet the darkness “does not comprehend it,” until God opens the eyes of those He chooses so they can see.

God Hates Religion
The opposite of Christianity is not darkness, it is religion. Religion is man’s attempt to work for God. Religion is man trying in his efforts and best wisdom to do God’s work. Christianity is the opposite. Christianity is God doing His work in and through His people, not for man’s sake, but for His own glory as He brings His creation back in line with Himself. Religion thinks man has something to offer God or do for God. Christianity says God needs nothing from us.

Religion has pride at its core. Religion has self its the core. Religion says “I need to do more for God.” Why? So I feel like I’m doing significant work and am doing enough to be pleasing to God. Religion says I need to read my Bible more to become more holy or clean. Why? I so I feel better about myself and improve myself. Religion guilts me when I don’t read the Bible enough or when I miss church. Religion guilts me when I don’t share my faith with everyone I meet and answer every alter call to reach the world for Christ. Religion says I must work on myself to make myself more acceptable by God, to get closer to God, to do all the things He expects me to do. Religion lacks joy and power, yet I keep trying to attain what I think I should be. Religion loves self-help book because it seeks to improve self.

All our religious deeds are filthiness to God. All attempts to achieve what God has already completed in us or to do, by our own efforts, what He wants to do through us is religion. We cannot achieve, devise, improve and add to anything that God has done. It’s done. Finished. Complete. And He did is masterfully, perfectly, beautifully.

Alive from the Dead

What would you do if you could not ultimately fail? If you had unlimited power pouring in and through you, enabling you to live a life that transforms the world around you with such force that the effect lasts forever? Welcome to the Christian life. This is your life as a believer. You are a citizen of heaven, a child of the living God. You have entered into the unlimited realm of God, connected to the most powerful and loving Being whoever was, or is, or will be. He is taking over the earth, calling the dead to life, and building His kingdom one life at a time. People come as He calls and He transfers them out of darkness into His marvellous light. He is saving them-- not just for themselves; He’s saving them for Himself, for His purposes on earth as He seeks out the lost. He is saving you to send you into the world as His ambassador, to be a voice of love proclaiming the truth of His gospel. He pulled you out of the darkness into the light to put you right back in to set others free through you.

When He birthed you new through His Spirit, He gave you everything you need for “life and godliness.” You reign with Him as He brings all things into alignment with Himself. You will “walk on water” with Him, doing impossible God-tasks by faith alone. You cannot try to live the Christian life. No amount of Bible reading will get you closer to God. No amount of prayer. Church attendance and seminars will not do it. You are now as close to God as you will ever be, because of what He did in Christ. You are as complete as you will ever be. You must believe that works won’t improve you; faith alone connects you with God.

Christianity is vital and alive when it is really real. When it is fake, it brings disgrace to God. True Christianity cannot be faked. It can’t be contrived. It just is what it is. There are only two realities in human existence: Death or Life. People either exist in Death or they exist in Life. If you are disconnected from God, you are dead in your sin or independence. If you are connected to God, you are alive in your dependence upon Him.

Knowing the Genuine Article

Many people who say they are Christians, even those who grew up in the church, may not really know God. Wow, you might say, that’s pretty harsh. It might sound harsh and those words might pierce you, but they are true. If you prayed a “sinner’s prayer” but it seemed to have no impact of God in your life, you have reason to question if you are really saved. How can I say that? I say it because Jesus said it first. He said we will know His disciples by the fruit of their lives. We will say to Him, Lord, we healed the sick, we went to church, we shared the Bible with everyone we met, and He will say, away from Me, away from Me, I never knew you. Are you His? Does He know you? Have you surrendered to Him from your heart? Not in word, but in essence. Have you truly had an encounter with the gospel, the good news of God?

If God birthed you new, you are new. How will you know? You will know by the fruit that begins to show. If He made you new, He placed His Spirit in you and is now working out His righteousness in and through you. You will not want to sin. Your former life will become uncomfortable to you. If you lie now, it will hurt you. If you steal, it will press in on you. You won’t like it anymore. You will want your behaviour to line up with the reality of the transformation in your spirit. You cannot deny Him. You will want to proclaim His gospel, the good news of His salvation.

But, if you are not really His, you can openly disrespect Jesus and not care. You will be apathetic and religious and put on a good front. You will think only of yourself and try to look good. You do not love God and will not want to be about His business. There will be no lasting transformation within or around you. But if you are alive, if there is life in you, you want God. You hunger for Him. You love Him. You may not know how to walk with Him or know what to believe deeply yet, but you want Him. It’s in the DNA of who you are as His creation. You were “created in Christ Jesus for good works” that He “prepared in advance” for you to walk in. You long for Him. You love Him, and it breaks your heart that you seem to fall short of pleasing Him.

No one can make a dead person live but God. Many churches are filled with dead people who think they are alive. Their works are dead works, devoid of power. They focus is on self, not God. They try to learn the Bible, but cannot understand what it says. The natural mind does not understand the Word of God. It is truly a holy book which has to be revealed to you by God. He gives understanding through His Spirit. If you don’t have His Spirit, you will not be able to understand. If God has birthed life in you, He will give you understanding as you yield to Him for His purpose, for His will alone. His wisdom always lines up with His will. He will never move according to your will or desires unless they perfectly line up with His own. He’s about His own will and His will is the right will. This is the profound difference between doing religion to having a thriving, celebrating relationship with God.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coming to the End of Herself

Alone on her bed, she cried out to God. Years of fruitless living filled her with despair. Where was God? Had He given up on her? Why did He not seem to answer her prayers? She felt so far from God, and so unclean. She remembered the early years when she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ. Words had leaped off the pages of the Bible and God felt so close, continually speaking to her through His word. Life became an adventure of joy and awe as she got know her God.

Strangely, years of addiction and broken relationships prepared her for God. She came to Him bankrupt and when He transformed her the change was dramatic. Yet now, she felt alone. What had she done to displease God, to lose His favour on her life? She’d been attending church, doing ministry things, trying to pray, trying to read her Bible, trying to help people and she was tired. She was tired of trying to live the Christian life. Tired of lacking joy. Tired of struggling to find peace. Just tired. In a desperate cry, she wept before the Lord, “Just kill me God, if this is all there is to Christianity. It’s no different than the world, in fact I feel worse than I did before I knew you. Just take my life. Kill me. I don’t want to live like this anymore. Help me see what I’m not seeing. I would rather die.”

It was about 3 am. She’d stayed in her bed for three days, crying out to God. For years, He seemed to ignore her prayers. Why would He answer her now? For years she had asked Him to make her holy, to show her the way to be clean again and accepted by Him. For years, He never seemed to answer. Tonight, in the very early morning she sensed God speak. As she lay in her bed, He seemed to say, “My child, you have already died. You have been crucified with Christ. You no longer live, but Christ now lives in you. You prayed for years for Me to make you holy. I didn’t answer those prayers because my work in you was done. I made you holy the moment I saved you. I killed you that day, removing the old spirit within you, and I gave you life. I gave you a new spirit and heart that was totally clean and righteous, set apart for Me. You kept praying for peace, and I didn’t answer that prayer because I had already given you My Peace. All of it. There is no more to give. I gave you My peace through My Spirit the moment I saved you. You have all of Me in you now. All my love. All my peace. All my joy. All my self-control. All the fruit of My Spirit is in you now. Then I sealed you in My love. I have given you Me. All of Me. I am in you and You are in Me. You live within me. You’ve been trying to gain something you already have. That’s why it’s been hard. That why you have struggled. Your salvation was a gift, not something you can try to get. I have transformed you, making you whole, to send you into the world to proclaim this good news. Just believe Me. It’s done. You are complete.”

She listened in awe, tears streaming down her cheeks, “So you mean I’m completely Holy?” Yes. “So you mean I’m pure and clean?” Yes. The words kept flowing back with clear assurance. “So you mean You never left Me? You are pleased with me and accept me? “Yes. “So you mean I’m not broken? I’m complete, totally complete?” Yes. Scripture began to flow through her mind, words she had read many times, but never really heard. His words pulsing with the reality of the life within her, flowing like a river cleansing away all doubt, all pain, all the despair of the past 20 years.

God seemed to whisper into her heart, “You are a new creation. You are complete in Christ. You are accepted and holy. Dearly loved. You are seated in heavenlies in Christ Jesus and you reign with Christ. You are clean. You are royal. You are a priest. You are my workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that I prepared in advance for you to do. You have abundant life now and this life is in my Son. I gave you the righteousness of my Son as a gift of my grace. I made you completely righteous from the day I saved you. I filled by Son with the fullness of who I am and you exist in Him and He is in you. You are engulfed in Me. I have set you free. Now go and proclaim this good news to others who live without hope in the world.”

Then with the impact of His Spirit, the words came to her, “But I will not share My glory with you. You cannot accomplish the work of God by your strength or design. I never intended for you to try to ministry, try to set captives free or bind up the brokenhearted. It’s impossible for you to transform a person, but it’s not impossible for Me. It is what I do. I set captives free; I heal the lame; I proclaim freedom to prisoners; I bind up the broken; I give life to the dead when I call them from the grave. It’s impossible for you. You cannot accomplish My work, through your efforts, but I will accomplish my work through you as you fully believe Me. Walk with Me as I set up My Kingdom. Be about My task, living for My will alone. Walk by faith, obeying My word, and you will do even greater things than My Son did on earth, but you will know it’s not you. You will know it’s Me in you and I will receive honour and glory through you. Word with me and I will work with you. We will work together to see my Kingdom established. We are now one.”

“Oh, God,” she cried, “You are so beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for what you have done. For saving me and making me complete. Use my life for Your glory, draw people to yourself through me Lord. I yield myself fully to You.” Sobs welled up inside her, spilling over onto her pillow, cleansing her, releasing the beauty of His Spirit within her, the beauty of who she really is, who she has always been in Christ. Unbelief fell away and joy rose up, surrounded by overwhelming peace. God has accomplished everything, and her life now had meaning and purpose beyond compare. No longer would she live for herself focusing on her own transformation, but for her King, walking with Him, learning from Him, moving in the world according to His will and plan. He will speak His gospel through her, transforming people around her, and vicariously she will grow and become more and more like her King. She will live for His pleasure alone, seeing His will done on earth as it is in heaven. What lies she had believed. What lies she had been taught. The struggle was over, the Truth was setting her free. Now she just needed to believe.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Admitting who we are apart from God.

We admit that, before knowing God,
we were unrighteous beings living independently of Him.

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousness are like filthy rags.  Isaiah 64:6a

As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one” Romans 3:10

True health begins by admitting how unhealthy we really are apart from God. As strange as that may sound, it’s true. Jesus stated this simple truth this way: those who are healthy don’t need a doctor. Most of us would prefer to stay as far away from doctors as we can. We don’t like being sick. Yet, from God’s perspective, a doctor is just what we need. In fact, when we think we are well and managing our lives just fine on our own, we are in the gravest danger. Jesus said he didn’t come to call the healthy. He came for those who know their desperate need.

As we looked at Realizing who God is, we realized we were created by a Holy and Loving God. He is a perfect Being, absolutely Righteous in all His ways. There is no error in Him. We were created to live holy lives in complete dependence upon Him. We were created to love Him and to live for His glory. He commands us to obey Him and to believe His every word, because He is the only Being who is Truthful and Right all the time. In His righteousness, He works together everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He is always working out what is right -- all the time. He never sleeps or rests. He is fully trustworthy. He never acts outside of His character.

When God created the first man, Adam, He placed him in a magnificent garden and gave him authority to care for and rule over all created things. Adam was an innocent being.  He had no awareness of evil.   He lived with child-like faith and trust in His Creator.  Adam was dependent upon God. All of  his needs were met; his labour was meaningful and he existed in close friendship to God.  God formed Eve from Adam’s body because He knew it was not good for Adam to be alone. He needed another being like himself.  Eve was a helper and companion to Adam, a co-ruler of the earth, and, soon, the mother to his children.  Both were naked and unashamed, living dependent upon God.

Adam and Eve could eat of any tree in the garden, but one. God gave Adam only one rule: you must not eat of this one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of it, God said, you will surely die. Adam and Eve now had to choose. Would they choose life or death? Death, in the Bible, means independence from Life. There is the physical death of our bodies and spiritual death of being disconnected or independent from God. God says to choose Life, because He alone is Life. Outside of Him is Death. This independent existence is called Sin.

When the serpent entered the garden, he directly contradicted the Word of God, tempting humans to disbelieve their Maker. They now had to choose whether they would walk by faith in God or choose to put their faith in the serpent who challenged the Truth of God’s word. They gave way to temptation and chose to believe the lie. They ate of the forbidden fruit and were cast into death.

The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” The consequence of their unbelief was immediate and lasting. God cast Adam and Eve out of the garden and out of His presence. They died a spiritual death instantly, followed years later by the physical death of their bodies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beauty from Ashes

Where do we get the idea that we can advise God? In our prayers we direct Him and tell Him what to do, as if He doesn’t know already. We devise a god of our own understanding and when our god fails us, we become angry with God as if it’s His fault for not coming through. We blame God as if it’s His fault for the problems in our lives. If only I wasn’t born into this particular family. If only I didn’t have this learning disability or this disease. If only people hadn’t abused me. If only, all these bad things had not happened, I would be okay. We often live as victims, blaming God, or others, when really He desires only to bring beauty from the ashes.

All the events of your life are designed by God to bring you to God in a plan that is beyond comprehension. God works all things together, whether seemingly good or bad, to bring maximum glory to Himself and significance and meaning to your life.

So pain is part of that process. We learn obedience through what we suffer. Well, God, we might grumble, that is not fair. And He says to us, who are you, o created one, to argue with your Maker? God did not even spare His own Son in the greatness of His plan to save you. Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered, and He lived completely without sin. He obeyed His Father even to the point of death, even death on a cross. A humiliating death; A death where He was beaten, stripped, nailed to a cross and held up in total humiliation for all to see. And God was pleased to crush Him because of the good that would ultimately come. It was for the joy set before Him that He, Jesus, endured the cross, despising the shame and sat down at the right hand of God. God highly exalted Jesus, yet He did not allow even His Son to avoid suffering and pain.

Through our pain, we come to know God and to rest in Him. We realize that we can do nothing apart from Him. Nothing at all. We learn that even in the pain of this world, the things people do to us, the calamities that come; God works all these things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Even the worst events of our lives, God weaves them together for good and brings beauty from them. He sets us free and He heals us. He binds up our broken hearts and heals our wounds. He causes His righteousness to shine out from us when we surrender to Him by faith. He enables us to love as He loves, with no agenda, but to set us completely free to depend fully on Him. The events of our lives lose their power over us as we begin to see as God sees.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Listening in Prayer

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God;

and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.

Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few. (Eccl. 5:1,2)

Drawing near to God to hear. This is the goal of prayer. This is true spirituality. What more do we need to say? What wise counsel can we offer God? What things do we need to ask for?

He knows our thoughts before one of them comes to our mind. He knows our needs. Our ways are not hidden from our God. He is abounding in lovingkindness. He loves us totally and completely like the good Father He is. What more do we need to say? Let our words be few. More than that is foolish to God and evil in His sight.

So we come to listen. To hear His words, for He alone is wise. He alone is True. He is fully trustworthy in all He says. He is right all the time. He instructs our hearts in His ways and His thoughts -- For His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways.

Oh God give us ears to hear what you are saying to us. Let us put aside all other thoughts and only live within Your thoughts, God, that we may know You, the only God and your Son Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Abiding is the reality of being who you are in Christ. Being, in connection with God in you and you in God. Existing and moving within Him and He within you. Abiding is the reality of life in Christ. In abiding, you experience Living in the Celebrating Life in Christ.

Abiding is being, but abiding is also doing, but it is not your doing. It’s the Father’s doing in and through you. You are a vessel for the life of God flowing through you, accomplishing His will on earth as it is in spiritual realm. So at the end of your life on this planet, you can say, along with Jesus, “I have done nothing.” This is the goal of abiding.

What does abiding look like? The abider moves in the flow of God. The flow of God is complete acceptance that whatever is...is. The abider gives the soul no reign. There is no “my will.” Now you say only “Your will”. God is working out His will in and through you. The Father’s will is active not stagnate. The Father is always working. Jesus was always about the Father’s business. Abiding is accomplished in total trust of the Father, being responsible to let things happen through you, knowing the Father is in control of all things working around you, working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The Father works all things together according to His will. Nothing happens by chance. Nothing is by mistake. All things are designed for the Father’s will, for His Name’s sake and glory. Not even a butterfly will come into your presence but by the will of God.

The Christian life should feel like you are in the ride of your life, but you are not driving. You are riding without resistance against where you need to go. It just is what it is. Your life is completely abandoned to God. As events happen, you accept that event in complete trust knowing God is allowing it for His purposes and His will. You must experience the next event; it may be "good" or "bad" but it is the necessary event or situation.

Thankfulness is the sign of an abider. The absence of worry or anxiousness is also the sign of an abider. Peace is normal. Joy is normal. The spirit of man is accepted as righteous and holy, full of love desiring to be expressed in every situation. So when a storm comes, there is peace. Peace flows like a river and you say, “it is well with my soul.” God is the anchor of your soul, the foundation on which you stand. He is the strong tower in which you abide. He is the Rock of your salvation. You will not be shaken. You are secure and solid in Him. He is able to make you stand and He will do it. He is doing it.

The abider abides in the Word of God. The Word of God is not quoted; it is fully rested upon. There is no trying to get it to “work”. It just works because it just is. Truth is spoken even when it may not go "good" for the speaker,... it just is. The abider knows the mind of God through knowing the Word of God. They ask or answer people with biblical statements without quoting the bible; they are speaking the same way as the Bible. It is natural for them to speak "Christ-like."

The eyes of the abider now are open to see the Father working. He sees small things as signs or hints from God to join what He is doing in the life of the one He is exposing. God is setting people free. He works in and through us to see His kingdom advance life by life as He calls the dead to life transferring them out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love. God connects us into Himself and we become one with Him.

People see the abider as "different." He or she is not "normal" to the others around them because the world does not abide. The world works its own will out on every situation. When you abide, people wonder how you can remain calm in difficult situations like Jesus standing before Pilate.

Abiders don’t NEED help from people, but understand that the FATHER's help comes through people

so they are open to receive help. They enjoy learning from others who the Father is speaking through because they want to grow more Christ-like.

Abiders still get off the mark when they let the soul thoughts drift. The drift moves them to make decisions from the soul, which would be to protect the body, love the body, love fame, power, money or any other earthly thing that earth values. These values are an abomination to God. The abider catches him or herself quickly because they can tell it does "feel" normal. They know something is wrong. Christianity is starting to seem hard to carry out, like a work to do rather than a relationship with their Father. So they quickly go back to where they stopped trusting the Father. They look to what they were told to do, but feared to go there or resisted the order. The soul had reigned. They confess or admit it to the Father and take up the fellowship again at this starting point, knowing that their behaviour does not separate them from God, but the experiencing fellowship with God felt disconnected because they walked in the flesh obeying the soul rather than the Spirit of God.

The goal of abiding is to know God. Not work for Him. Most religious people want to work FOR God, not KNOW God. Jesus said, “This is eternal life that they might know You, and the Son whom You sent.” In knowing God, we love God. In loving we God we obey God, knowing His will is the only will that matters.