Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moving from Religion to Christianity


Christianity is a living system of God working His life in and through us for His purposes on earth, for His glory, not our own. Christianity is more about God’s glory than about our improvement. Christianity is about us being who we truly are in Christ, not us trying to be something we think we should be or trying to do something for God to somehow earn His favour.
The opposite of Christianity is religion. Religion is when we attempt to work for God to please Him. Religion is also when we try, in our own efforts and best wisdom, to do God’s work. In Christianity, God does His work in and through us, not for our sake, but for His own glory, as He brings His creation back in line with Himself. We are being religious when we think we have something to offer God. We try to do works for God as if God needs something from us, as if our works will somehow add something to God or help Him get His work done. God needs nothing from us, but He enjoys working with us.
Religion has pride and self at its core. When we think we are better than the person next to us, we are being religious. On the flip side, when we seek to improve ourselves or seek to feel better about ourselves in the guise of loving God or experiencing His love, we are being religious. Religion says I must work on myself to make myself more acceptable to God, or to get closer to God. The feeling of religion is that I am somehow not complete enough or not fully accepted by God, so I have to work on myself and try to be better. Religious people often love self-help books because they seek to improve self.
Religion also says I must do all the things He expects me to do and sets about trying to obey God’s rules. There is a feeling of never measuring up or never being able to be or do all we think God wants us to be and do.
Christianity says, I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live.  Christ now lives in me.[1]  Self is crucified; the old man is gone.[2] In the old man’s place is the new man who is created by God in holiness and righteousness.  Now, we say, “I am accepted by God, holy and righteous.  I am complete in Him.” If we truly believe this, we will have little concern for our lives and circumstances.  We will no longer try to work for God, to be approved by Him.  We will seek to work with Him and be who we now are in Him:  righteous and holy children of God.
Christianity says deny yourself and accept that self is dead, crucified with Christ. Religion says I must try to be good or try to look good. Christianity says I was evil, and could never have made myself good no matter how hard I try.  Through Jesus Christ, I have been made good by God.  I am good and righteous, not based on works I do, but based on the work He has done in Christ.  This is the central different. Now I desire to be who I am, as a righteous being who is dearly loved by God.  I desire to walk by faith in God.
Religion feels like a heavy burden on our backs. It’s hard. Have you experienced the weight of trying to be religious? It has the appearance of spirituality, but lacks joy and power. Religion has trying and rules as the core, as we keep trying to be what we think we should be. Christianity’s rule is light and easy and comes from a heart of love, yet it may cost us our physical life to live it out.  Religion says we must continuously keep working for God or we will be lost, creating fear and guilt. Christianity says we are kept by God.



[1] Galatians 2:20
[2] Romans 6:6

(Except from Kingdom Disciples:  8 Keys to Life-Transforming Discipleship by Alan Braun and Nancy Ingold)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Interesting Conversations

I have been so encouraged lately.  There seems to a trend, as if God is waking up the church to be who He made us to be. Missionaries, pastors, and Christian leaders seem to be having a fresh touch of God, as if eyes are being opened for the first time. I hear people say things that sound like Jesus.  Is revival in the air?  A reality that it's just Jesus we need?

We no longer want to try to run our own lives. We are tired of working, trying to do things for God, trying to do ministry, trying to win souls.  We seem to be moving away from performance based Christianity into a love relationship with God that is vibrant and alive and moving in submission to God.  There is an awareness that we can do nothing apart from Christ and that what we try to accomplish on our own means nothing to God.

We seem to be desiring to move away from dead Christianity, devoid of power, to a Christianity that is moving in the power of the Holy Spirit, by faith alone.  We no longer desire to rely our own wisdom and methods, but to rely on the One who is taking over the world and calling people to and into Himself.  It'sand awareness that it's no longer about us trying to do,  but it's about God doing in and through us, carrying out His perfect will.  It's dependence.  Total dependence on God, knowing that we have been crucified in Christ and we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.  It's the reality of dying that we might truly live.

We seek His wisdom which He graciously gives to all who ask. So we ask and believe and walk in the wisdom He gives us by faith.  We seek His life, lived out in and through us. His power for His glory. For His Name's sake.  We seek Him.  Him who saved us, calling us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  He who transformed us, making us new and holy beings. It's just Him.  And He receives all the glory. All the praise.  He is worthy. He is worthy. He has set us free from the power of sin and death and made us into righteous children of His, not by any merit of our own, but by His grace and love.

We walk with Him now, in His grace, in which we stand.  We walk with His power that lives within us, knowing that we are in Him.  He flows in and through us, unhindered by unbelief.  But in complete abandon, we rest in Him, knowing He will lead and conform us to the image of His Son.

We are one with God and we walk according to His will, not our own.  As His new creations, we have no other will, but His. We love Him. We delight in the law of God. We desire only to please Him, and we know that faith is what pleases Him, not busyness, not ministry, not running ourselves ragged to try to do His work-- but simply faith.  Loving Him. Obeying Him and Living to His glory.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Pressure of the Old Way


I'm reading Larry Crabb's book, "The Pressure's Off"  and I thought he does an excellent job of explaining the struggle to live an abiding, abundant life in Christ.  He speaks about the Old Way of the Law vs. the New Way of the Spirit of God.  The difference of doing things in our own strength and for our own purposes and living in the strength of God for His purposes.  This difference is everything!  The rest is from Larry Crabb:

When any ambition other than drawing near to God assumes first-place significance in our hearts, whether the ambition is blatantly self-serving or clearly kingdom-advancing, we’re living in the Old Way.  Drawing near to God will purify our desires and energize godly ambitions to counsel well, preach powerfully and write helpful books, and that’s good.  When our first-place privilege of nearness to God remains in first place, we abide in the vine...the fruit grows on the branch.  That’s New Way living.
But the moment we let our desires for blessings become demands, the moment we expect blessings to come because we've met the requirements for God to grant them, the moment we think any blessing other than nearness to God is essential to life is therefore promised now, we've chosen to live the Old Way. And that means we've forfeited the opportunity to experience supernatural reality and must now depend upon our own resources to arrange for the blessings we want.  We end up leading natural lives, lives energized by the flesh no matter how religiously disguised.
Preaching good sermons, raising good kids, building good friendships, developing good ministries, running good businesses – they all become activities of the flesh.  The pressure’s on. We have to get it right to get what we want most.
At conversion, the Spirit placed four distinct resources within us that make supernatural living possible:

Ø  A New Purity that makes us clean in God’s sight even when we roll in the mud
Ø  A New Identity that permits no labels other than ones like saint, child of God, beloved, and heaven-bound pilgrim to be accurately pinned on us;
Ø  A New Disposition that actually prefers holiness to sin;
Ø  A New Power to draw near to God as a forgiven heir who long to behold the beauty of the Lord.

When we choose to pursue the Better Life of Blessings over the Better Hope of Intimacy, these resources become useless...
Christ promises no help when you make it your goal to secure certain blessings by doing good things You can pray and fast and attend seminars and buy books and double-tithe and refuse cable service on your television and practice contemplative prayer and never miss an anniversary or your son’s ball games – the resources of the Spirit will have no value to you at all.  God will not help us live the Old Way.

Excerpt From Larry Crabb’s book, “The Pressure’s Off” pp. 53-54

Monday, October 15, 2012

Radically Align to the New Creation

Alignment

Why radically align your thinking to the new creation in Christ?  Because it's true.  It is who you are.  "Behold you are a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new."   You ARE a new creation in Christ, that's why.  It's disobedient to say less.

Why then is it all too common to say less.  We accept so much less, when Christ's death and resurrection accomplished it all, setting us free from the power of sin and death.  I think it's because we do not understand or perhaps never learned certain truths that reveal the power and mystery of what God did in and through Christ to set us free.

I think perhaps we are not clear on what the circumcision of the heart really is. Perhaps we are not clear on the true identity of a believer as being someone who is completely righteous, having received the righteousness of Christ through faith.  Perhaps we also are not aware that we are a triune being, with a spirit, soul and body.  Our spirit is pure and holy and new. Our soul needs to be transformed and our body will follow what we actually believe.

Romans become a central text for understanding what God did in Christ. It's amazing how Paul write down the doctrine revealed to him by Jesus.  Even Peter says that some of Paul's teaching is hard to understand. Peter was a pillar of the early church, and it was challenging for him to understand Paul sometimes.  The things that Paul write are spiritually discerned.  They are revealed by the Spirit of God to our spirit.  The Spirit searches the deep things of God and reveals them us if we will listen.

Circumcision of the heart is central too.  Col. 2:11-14 and Rom. 2:28-29 teach circumcision as does Ezekiel 36.

I am amazed by the gospel.  For years, I did not understand these things.  I lived less and I struggled to live a victorious Christian life. I knew I loved God, but I did not understand the truth of His word.  Jesus said if we will abide in His word we will be His disciples.  He will teach us. Then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.  What does it set us free from?  From the lies that we were believing that were holding us back in our walk with God.

Dig deep, my friend.  Dig deep and ask God to reveal His word to you.  Come to Him, not with an agenda to press your understanding.  Seek Him for His understanding and when it comes to you, His understanding will set you free.

Being Who You Are

Who are you?

How do you view yourself?  What statements do you believe about you?  Your life reflects what you believe about who you are and about what God did to save you.  How is your life going? How is it functioning?  Do you have joy?  Are you walking a victorious walk with the Lord?  Or are you struggling with ungodly thoughts and living a life that is less than the abundant life Jesus died to give you?

If you are truly a Christian, having been impacted by the Spirit of God when you turned from your sin and surrendered your life to Him, certain words are true for you.

If you are not a Christian, or are living a religion life without having a relationship with God, certain words are true for you.

Your identity is formed by your birth.  When you are born onto the planet, you are born in the sin of Adam and you are a sinner.  There is nothing good in you.  Nothing profitable or useful is in you.  God will receive nothing from you in your life of sin.  You must be born again to have eternal life.  No amount of effort or work can save you. You must surrender to Jesus Christ, admitting you are an enemy of God.  You must turn from your life living independently of God and ask Him to take all your sin away.  You then receive by faith all God accomplished in Christ, receiving the righteousness of Christ.

Words that describe you are:  sinner, dead, enemy of God, unrighteous and no good.  If you are a sinner, you are in serious trouble with a Holy God and you are at His mercy.  Then end for you is eternal separation and torment in hell.

Once you surrender to Jesus Christ, He births you new, giving you a new spirit and heart. He seals you with His Holy Spirit and circumcises you away from the sin of the flesh.  He has transferred you out of darkness and conveyed you into the Son of His love.  You are His and you are clean and new.  

Words that describe you as a Christian are:  holy, blameless, righteous, royal priest, child of God, clean, new, free from sin, slave of righteousness.  You are God's child, having been born again through the seed, who is Christ.  You are no longer a slave of sin and death.  You are free.

How do you describe yourself?  Who are you?  Do you know?  How are you living?  Your life will show you. If you accept the truth of who you are in Christ, you will walk in joy and power of the Holy Spirit. You will walk in the victory and abundant of a child of God. And God will use your life for His glory and His namesake.

Do you know who you are?  Do you need help to sort this out until you understand more deeply?  


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making Disciples

Jesus said some radical things!  He said "Follow Me"   and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  Immediately seems to be the key word.   Jesus said, deny yourself and pick up your cross and "Follow Me".  If you seek to save your life you will lose it but if you lose your life for His sake you will find it.  Jesus said, " forsake all"  and follow Me.  Unless you give up everything you cannot be My disciple.  Unless you hate your father, mother, sister and brother, you cannot be My disciple!

What was Jesus saying?  Was He being harsh or was He simply being who He is, God who had come among us in the flesh, calling us to live beyond our earthly life in the supernatural realm where He is Lord and Master of All.  He said, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the age."  So go, therefore and make disciples.  Make people who will lay down their lives and count all things loss to the surpassing greatness of knowing God.

This is eternal life, to know God and the one whom God sent.  There is something more to this life than what we see. There is some greater power and experience than what our senses can discover.  There is a spiritual reality that is deeper than the ocean and more powerful than all the forces of nature.  Discipleship lives in this realm.

This is the realm of God who reigns from within His people and He calls us to a radical life of complete and total dependence upon Him. Living for His will alone.  In this is life, that Jesus laid down His life for us.  And we should lay down our lives for our brethren.  What profound love God has for us. At a great cost to Himself, He set us free from sin and death and placed our feet on the Rock, who is Jesus Christ.

What is discipleship?  It seems to be walking together in a dependent relationship with God Himself, to obey Him, to love Him, to lay down our earthly life for His Name's sake.  It's a polarization of our total belief system to align with the Truth of His Word.  It's faith!  In discipleship, we are content with plenty or content with little.  We proclaim the message of the One who set us free, in boldness He gives.  It is a focus on Him, in Him and through Him.

He is our Deliverer. Our Strong Tower.  He is the Vine that gives us life and imparts power to the branches we are to bear fruit.  He made us to bear fruit, and this fruit will last.  He is the Saviour and the Master.  He is Sustainer, the glue that holds all things together.  He is the Beginning and the End.  He is trustworthy and faithful. He is True.  He is Jesus, the Teacher of our souls, the giver of Life. He is Life itself.  And He has given Himself to  us and dwells in us.  and joined us into Himself, so we dwell in Him too.

We love Jesus, with all we are.  And from this love relationship with Him, we love others with the love He gives in and through us.  People know we are disciples by our love for one another.  We love because He first loved us. But in this love there is obedience.  Jesus said, "If you love me you will do what I command." Why?  Is it not because what He commands is always right, always loving and always the very best. His command is the will of the Father, as He works all events together for the good of those who the called out ones, His saints.

Discipleship speaks the truth into the deep recesses of our spirit, calling us to be who we really are.  Calling us to live within the finished work of the cross and to call others to walk together with us for His Name's sake and His glory. We proclaim this message, without weakening it or changing it.  Just declaring what is and what will ever be.  Discipleship doesn't weaken the message or the reality of God to make us feel more comfortable with it.  Instead it teaches the truth of God's words and His reality and calls us to believe that the invisible we cannot see is more real than the visible world we see around us.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What If...?

Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! 
Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

Have you ever fallen into the trap of trying to predict the future?  And if you did try, did you imagine the future as turning out positive or negative?  When you recited the scenario over and over in your mind and how did it turn out?  And how did you feel with your supposed outcome? What emotions were stirred?  Did you have peace or did you have fear?  Did you have confidence or did you doubt?
     The unknown is uncomfortable, isn't it?  So we like to guess at the future.  The problem is, apart from divine revelation, we cannot know the future.  We don't even know what will happen one minute from now. We like to know how things will turn out.  We like to know that our effort, our plans, the events of our lives will turn out well.  And we worry.  We worry about whether our kids will do well.  What if they fail school?  What if they get abducted on the way to school? What if we fail at parenting?  We often develop scenarios in our minds about their future.  How often are those scenarios positive?  How often are the fearful?
       We ask all sorts of "what if" question.   What if someone rejects me or gets mad at me when I try to help them or tell them the truth? What if I lose a friendship because I stand up for God or choose not sin?   What if people do not like me if I speak about my relationship with Christ?  What if they make fun of me?  What if I admit where I am struggling and people only laugh at me or talk about me to everyone else?  What if?   What if we lost our what ifs and begin to live by faith?

      As I was reading about Mary this morning, I saw a woman who had every reason to fear.  She had major "what ifs" she could have asked, didn't she?  What if Joseph, her parents, her entire community rejected her?  What if she was caste out as unfaithful and a fornicator and she was stoned?  What if...?  Instead, we see a woman, faced with a miracle happening to her body, where God Himself would impregnate her virgin body with the Seed of His Spirit and within her womb would develop the Christ, the Son of the living God.  For a young girl, I bet that was a lot to wrap her mind around.  Yet, how did she respond?  "Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be to me according to your word."  Wow!
     How could she respond like that?  Did she not know it was scientifically impossible to get pregnant without having sex with a man?  Did she not realize it was unwise to get pregnant at all as young betrothed Jewish girl?  Yet, she responded in full assurance of faith.  How could she do that at such a young age? And how did God know she was the one He could trust with His only begotten Son?
     Mary knew God.  I think it's as simple as that!  And He knew her.  He saw her life in the quiet of her small town in the privacy of her home. He saw her in her relationship with Joseph and He blessed her.  There were many "what ifs" Mary could have uttered and we would have said she was justified to ask and question and doubt. After all what God was asking would change the course of her life forever.  Yet, she just said yes.  Let it be done as you will.  I trust you God.  I know you love me. I know you are true and right.  I trust you, even though it changes everything.  Even though people could hate me and it's beyond anything my brain can wrap around. Even though it's humanly impossible. Nothing is impossible with you.  Let is be done.

What benefit have you gotten from "what if" thoughts?  Usually, if I allow my thinking to go toward "what ifs" my thoughts do not go to the positive.  I don't know about you, but my thoughts go to the tragedy that might happen, a bad outcome. Usually thoughts like that stir up fear, worry and doubt leading to instability and the feeling of being tossed to and fro by the surf of the sea.
     What if we knew that God was working all things out for the good of those He called according to His purpose?  What if we believed that even events we do not understand and that seem impossible, God will work it out according to the counsel of His will and for our good...every time! ?   What emotions would you feel?  Would peace replace worry?  Would an expectation of God's leadership to work out impossible events?  I think we would experience the joy of walking by faith and growing to trust and love God even more as He proves Himself faithful time and time again.  
     Let it be done to me according to your word. I want to have the faith of Mary.  How 'bout you?  To get this faith, let's press into Jesus, the author and perfecter for our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross for our sake.  Mary suffered as she saw her son die at the hands of evil men. Yet there was joy in the morning when He was alive again and she knew that He was truly the Son of God who came to take away the sin of the world.  I want to know God like that.  
     

Monday, July 30, 2012

New-Creational Being, G.K.Beale

My husband has been reading a book called "A New Testament Biblical Theology"  by G.K. Beale.  The other day he read me an excerpt which gives an interesting take on the new creation life in Christ:


     "I have concluded that in Rom. 6, Eph. 4, and Col. 3 believers are part of a beginning new creation.  This means that their part in the old creation has been 'laid aside,' and they, though not perfected new creation, are growing in their new-creational existence.  Because they still physically live in the old, material world, and their new-creational being is not completed, sin still dogs them.  However, slowly but surely they are increasingly progressing in their new creational existence.  This means that they are in the process of shaking the sinful shadow of the 'old man' that lingers over them, even though the old man is gone. In a real sense, true believers are still part of the old creation in that they still possess physical bodies, which are being corrupted and will one day die, unless the Lord returns beforehand. Nevertheless, the unseen part of a person, that person's soul or 'spirit' or 'inner man is being renewed day by day.'  To perceive the reality of this increasingly renewed 'inner man' one must' look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.'  Therefore, 'we walk by faith and not by sight' in believing that our resurrection and new-creational existence are true and growing.
     It is crucial to clarify here that Paul is not saying that both an 'old man' and the 'new man' exist together in a person, so that there is a battle between the two inside each Christian. Those who hold such a view conceive that sometimes the 'old man' wins the battle, and sometimes the 'new man' wins. Some would go so far as to say that the 'old man' can dominate a Christian most of the time, so that the 'new man' barely ever shows himself.  Some believe that Rom. 7:15-25 supports such a dual picture."

(And he goes on to explain this in the rest of the chapter.  Very interestingly said....)

from A New Testament Biblical Theology by G.K. Beale

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It's no joke!



Living out the Christian life is no laughing matter. It's not a joke.  It's a real battle against the world that seeks to hold us back. This battle, though, is won in Christ alone, not in our striving to win.  We win in our acceptance of His victory. And this victory is complete.   He defeated the evil one and He defeated the power of sin and death. He overcame the world and we overcome the world in Him.  In Him alone we have victory.

Why is it we choose not to enter into this grace?  The grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, who forgave all our sin on the cross.  All of it!   Every thought. Every action. Everything no matter how bad it was.  He forgives it all!  Why do we struggle to receive this grace?  Why do we think we are too bad to be forgiven?  If we choose not to believe, we will struggle.  We may struggle to the point of despair.  But there is no need to despair because there is incredible hope in Christ!!

Pride is at the core of our refusal to accept His grace, as strange as that may sound.  Pride.  Pride to not believe that the death of Christ is sufficient for us.  We are somehow too bad, or have done too many bad things.  Do you we think that God is surprised by our lives?  He formed us and knew us by name before the foundation of the earth.  He saw every moment of our lives.  He heard every thought you would think before it formed in your mind.  He is intimately acquainted with your ways. Every one of them.  He is not surprised.  He knew you were lost and that you were dead in your sin. He knew you needed a Saviour or would be lost forever.  He knew there was nothing good in you and yet.... He loved you anyways.  He loved you when you were an enemy and He sent His Son to die in your place.

In Jesus' death, sin was defeated.  Like in Aslan's death, the stone table was broken and the witch did not know of the deeper magic.  The evil one did not know the deeper truth that death could not hold Jesus. He died for our sin, not His own. And His death and resurrection was sufficient for you... no matter what you have done.

Humility accepts His grace and the gift of righteousness He gives.  Humility knows we were nothing and worthy of death, but by the grace of God, we are made new and righteous by the gift of God in Christ Jesus.  What an amazing grace!!  Those whom the Son sets free are free indeed.  Every one of us.  No matter what!

Let's join together in the celebration of His grace.  Celebration of complete forgiveness.  Celebration of life itself.  This life is found in Jesus alone. He is sufficient for you!   In Him, you have overcome the world and are no longer a slave of sin.  You have been set free and you can live a life beyond your wildest dreams... in Him.  And you are in Him, and He is in you, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Being VS Doing

We are human beings... not human doings.  Yet, so much of our identity is from what we do, isn't it?  We are moms, dads, business people, friends, carpenters, sports enthusiasts. We are so many things, aren't we?

What defines you?  What defines your life as a Christian?  Is it what you do for God?  Or is it who God has made you to be and then you do from that base, rather than the other way around.  Do you do Christian stuff because God will be pleased if you do?  Will doing these things make you somehow more acceptable to God and more holy?

I think sometimes we get things backwards.  We work at trying to be holy, rather than realizing that we are already holy and then living life from that reality.  Scripture says we are light, so live as children of light.  We are new, so live in the newness of life. We are holy, so live as holy beings on the planet.

The core reality is the new spirit given by God to a human being who surrenders to Jesus Christ. The old spirit, the heart of stone, is removed by God and a new heart is given to us who are now His chosen ones, His saints.  He has set us apart to Himself and sealed us in Himself through the Holy Spirit within our spirits.  And He has cut us away from the sin that still dwells with us, but not in us any longer.

How do you view yourself?  Really.  What do you say to yourself about yourself?  Do your thoughts and word line up with what God says about you. Not about how you think God views you or sees you, but who you really are as His new creation.  You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.  You have been made new. You are holy and righteous because of His work in Christ. Not because of any work you could possibly do. So why do we so often try to earn it or to do something to become more holy?

We walk by faith, not by sight. We walk by the reality of the unseen, believing God and as we believe our behaviour begins to line up with the work God did in our spirit. Our soul and body begin to transform, to be renewed and sanctified.  Our spirit is already sanctified, or set apart to God forever. There is no sin in our spirit. No independence.  Nothing can enter our spirit and defile it because it is kept by God Himself and sealed.  Nothing can enter into us and make us unholy.  We are holy set apart to God forever.  Now it must function out as we live as who we are. Doing flows from knowing who we really are, as the new creation in Christ, made by God.

We always do what we believe. If we believe our nature is unholy, we will try to do holy things believing it is against our nature.  If we know that our nature has been changed by God and that we are holy beings because of His grace, what will we want to do?  We will want to live out life as the holy beings we are, righteous and holy and set apart to God forever, with a nature that hungers for God and loves Him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Praying for you

On blogger.com, when we build a site, we can see what countries are represented by people who come on to our blog. In this case mine: Alive from the Dead.  I want you to know that as I see your country, I pray for you.  I have seen hits from Russia, Hungary, India, Japan, Ukraine, Canada, USA, Great Britain, Australia and more coming to this blog. I assume each hit is a person God is working in and through. I believe God is at work in some way in your lives and He is bringing us together somehow according to His pleasure and purpose. 

I pray for you. I pray for your country.  May God reveal Himself with power and joy and bring people to Himself through your lives.  I would love to hear from you and hear what God is teaching you and doing in your lives where you are. 

Wouldn't it be great if we had a glimpse into heaven?  Into the spiritual realm in Christ to see how God is moving His people around the world to accomplish His purposes?  I would love to see the movement of God more fully worldwide.

I pray His many blessings on each of you, on your families, and your ministries and your lives that He might be glorified and people might come to know Him through you.  May He deeply encourage and strengthen you each moment of the day.

Nancy

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The End of Futility

Before you knew Jesus, did your life seem futile or meaningless?  Did you seek happiness and pleasure only to find that what you thought would fill you, left you hungering for something more? 

When God spoke to Ezekiel, foretelling His plan and what He would accomplish in Christ, He spoke of a new humanity. One that is clean. One that has been given a new heart and a new spirit and has been joined to God forever through His Holy Spirit.  But the story doesn't stop there.  The end is not our transformation.  The end is so much more.

"Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. 35 So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.”
37 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’” Ezekiel 36:33-38

Can you hear the heart of God?  Futility has ceased in Christ.  Our work now remains, forever. Not only are we transformed, we get to be apart of something so much bigger than ourselves.  We get to be apart of rebuilding ruins and desolations. We get to see restoration. We are get to be apart of wasted and ruined cities being strengthened and fortified.  What is this saying?  We get to be apart of lives being rebuilt and societies being transformed.  And how does this transformation take place?  Through the inner transformation of each person's life and then the ripple effect of that transformation to those around them.  One person at at time, surrendering to Jesus Christ, being made new by God and living out this newness on the earth.  This new humanity becomes a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.  A flock whose shepherd is the Lord.

He makes us lie down in green pastures.  He restores our souls.  What a gracious God we have.


A New Humanity

I am in awe of God.  His plan amazes me.  His Word reveals a story of redemption, of Him speaking about and preparing to create a new humanity, which He unviels and fulfills in Jesus Christ.  This humanity lives with Him forever, and enter into this reality through a new birth, a total regeneration of spirit and heart.

24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

Ezekiel got a glimpse of a heavenly plan from the mind and heart of God Himself.  Sometimes I wonder what I would have done had God given me a plan like this, revealing something my mind could barely comprehend, something prepared for those to whom the Lord would reveal it to in the fulness of time. The time He would send His Son, to take away the sin of the world and transform humanity into a new creation, a people who belong to Him.  A people out of whome He removed a heart of stone and gave a heart of flesh. A new heart. A heart in which He placed Himself through His Holy Spirit. 

We live within the fulfillment of this message in Christ.  God has taken us out of the world, gathered us out from among the nations and from all the countries of the world and brought us into our own land, the kingdom of God.  Through the blood of Jesus Christ, He has made us clean -- forever!  All of our filthiness is gone and we have been been freed from the power of sin through the blood of Jesus.  He has given us a new heart and a new spirit and put His Spirit within us. Now He works this out in and through us according to His will.  And we dwell in the land He has given us in the kingdom of God, fulfilling the promise He gave to our father, Abraham.  Now we are His people and He is our God.

Ezekiel tells us that God did not do this for our sake.  He did this for His Name's sake which was profaned among the  nations because of His people Israel.  God was jealous for His Name, and He made a way for us to be kept by Himself and transferred into the Kingdom of God.

What an amazing God we have.  He is able to save us completely. He has set us free from sin's power and from death, and caused us to enter into life forever through the death and resurrection of His Son. And He gives this to us as a gift.  Undeserved. Not by anything we could ever do. But by what He Himself did and will continue to fulfill.  He joined us to Himself forever.

Oh the grace of God.  The power and wonder of His ways.  I am so thankful He loves us.  How good and gracious He is. 

Celebrating Life Ministries 2012 Celebration Coming Soon!

We are going to Celebrate! We hope you can join us! We want to give glory and praise to God for transforming lives and setting people free. We are in awe of Him and want to worship Him and give Him praise. Would you join us as we celebrate Him?

June 2, 6 - 9 pm Dinner followed by worship and testimonies and an overview of where we have come from and where we are going in CLM. Suggested donation: $10/person or $25/family. If funds are a little tight, come anyways. You are welcome! All proceeds will contribute directly to the Discipleship Homes, and seeing men and women set free to truly live!

Venue: Royal Heights Baptist Church, 11706 96th Ave., Delta, BC
For more information: email Nancy at celebratinglife@royalhbc.com or call 778-886-9214

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Streaming to God's Goodness

Can you picture it?  People of every tribe and tongue and nation streaming to the goodness of God?  Like streams converging into a River of Life that flows to the throne of Almighty God?  Imagine the joy and life of flowing in that stream. The diversity of language.  Diversity of color. Diversity of size and personality.  All flowing together as one stream into the presence of the Lord.

Now can you imagine, people, from every nation, falling at the feet of Jesus and admitting their independence from His Father.  Their willfulness and stubborness.  Desperately trying to find meaning in their own lives.  Seeking status and wealth, but coming away empty once they have it.  Seeking love, but finding only disappointment and not fulfillment. Seeking satisfaction, through their jobs, through relationships, through accumulating stuff. 

Never satisfied. Yet now they find themselves at the foot of the cross, admitting their sin and worthless life before God.  As they turn from their worthless lives to embrace the One who can save them from death, they rise.  In brilliance and joy. All nations merged together into one body. One Spirit pulsing life through them all.  One mind filling them with thoughts of eternity.  All these nations, streaming as one into the very presence of God. In just a moment of time.

Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD--For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all. Jeremiah 31:12

Streaming to the goodness of the Lord God. Filled overflowing with all they need. Their very being satisfied like a well-watered garden. In place of sorrow, there is joy.  What a beautiful picture God has painted of the reality of Christianity.  We live within these promises as we abide in Christ because we live with Him and He lives within us.  These promises are not just for when our bodies die. These promises are for us now, while we live on this earth. These promises are found in Christ alone.  This is the new creation life in Him.

"I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness," says the LORD.





Friday, April 13, 2012

He who abides in Me....

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing"  John 15:5

Our Father is always working.  He is conforming us into the image of His Son.  He is reconciling all things back to Himself.  He is actively bringing heaven to earth following the masterplan to bring glory and honour to Himself. 
     He is the vine.  He is the life-source for all who live.  He is the sustanance.  The food.  He is the water we drink and the wine.  He is the glue that holds us together.  From Him flows the wisdom that guides us, directing our path, teaching us His ways, revealing His heart.  If we will listen....
     How beautiful is God.... so consistent. So trustworthy. So right and true, so beautiful in all His ways.  His majesty is unsearchable.  His wisdom infallable.  He Word is sure and unchanging.  He is our fortress and our rock.  He is the shelter in which we live.  He is all we need. In Him, we are complete.  We are secure.  We are kept in perfect peace.
     What a great and awesome God.  You are so good to us, O God.  So loving and pure.  So reliable and perfect.  Thank you that you are mindful of us. Thank you for the life you flow in and through us that we may truly live.
     We are the branches.  Apart from you we wither.  Without you we cannot survive and we can do nothing.  But in You, we can do all things because You give us strength.  You cause us to walk and not grow weary...to run, and never faith.  You give us wings to soar like an eagle.  We soar on the breath of Your voice....in the shelter of Your wings.
     You made us to bear fruit. Fruit that lasts. You produce this fruit as we abide in the vine. You grow us and prepare us to bear this fruit.  You know exactly what we need to grow. You know the experiences we need. The challenges we need.  The conflicts we need.  You know the Word we need and You reveal to us at the right time in just the right way. O God, how perfect you are.
     We are Your disciples, and the evidence is the fruit that we bear, displayiing the splendour of the God who made us. We are His and He is ours.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

If God gives us more years....what would we do with them?

What if God gave us 30 more years to live. What would we do with those years?  What impact could we have that would last for all eternity?  What lives would be changed because we were on the planet?  What legacy would we leave?

I desire to see 10,000 people who are disciples of Christ, who love Him with all they are and love others with abandon.   Their lives will be filled with passion because they know God and they understand what He who they now are in Him, forever seals, forever changed, and filled with the resurrection power with which He raised Jesus from the dead.  They will abandon themselves and live in whole hearted devotion to God, from all tribes and tongues and peoples. 

I desire to see a movement begin across Canada, into the US and across the world.  People who know the gospel and proclaim it; walking with God as He calls others out of darkness into His marvelous light.  People who know how to disciple them and teach them the ways of God, so they might know how to lead others to know God and teach others the ways of God.  One by one, until momentum is reached to a tsumani force that rocks the world with the grace of God.  Transformation.  Living vibrant faith.  Joy that overflows and impacts a world where despair and hopelessness is common.  Where living for things which will pass away is the norm. 

Let's change the world, one person at a time.  Loving people and speaking the truth in love, proclaiming the goodness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who are called will hear what the Spirit is saying to them, and be birthed from death to life.

What impact do you think 10,000 sold out people would have in the world? It only took 12, 2000 years ago, to begin a movement that rocked the whole world and is continuing today....

Friday, March 23, 2012

8 Keys to Life-Transforming Discipleship


The 8 Keys of Life-Transforming Discipleship are central to our teaching process at Celebrating Life Ministries. Realize, Admit, Surrender, Believe, Transform, Abide, Love and Reign.  Let's take a glimpse at the focus of each key and why they are important.  I believe the truth represented within each key is foundational to living an abundant and powerful life as a Christian.  When we come to the end of them we will see that they encompass the gospel and the foundation we all need is Christ.

Key 1 Realize:  We come to realize who God is as He has revealed Himself, not as we think He is or wish He were. This is significant because He is fully who He is regardless of what we think.  He is love, but He is also wrathful, He is peaceful, but He will also seek vengeance.  He is sovereign, but He doesn’t control our choices, even though He knows our choices and allows us to make mistakes and grow.  He also uses the choices of wicked people to bring glory to Him.  He uses suffering and pain to glorify Himself.  He is not focused on the comfort of His people, but their holiness and that is primary to Him.  And yes He gives us comfort, but comfort is not His objective for us.  Our comfort is found in Him even in the midst of circumstances that might kill us or hurt our bodies in some way. We are created for Him, for His purpose, to bring glory and honour to Himself. He is not created for us.  He was and is and is to come.  He has always been.  Hard for our minds to grasp.  But He is who He is.  So this Principle is foundational to every key principle all the time.

Key 2 Admit: Admitting who we are (were) apart from God is foundational to understanding what He did for us in Christ.   If we do not get this key, we will not love Him correctly. Humans are sinful and unrighteous.  There is no one good, not even one (Romans 3).  So apart from God we are going to hell.  This is a truth from His word and since He is God and He said it, He reveals what He really thinks.  Humans will be thrown away because they are wicked and ungodly and He will not join Himself with us for all eternity if there is sin in us.  It’s important to sit on this key principle and help people to really get it.  If we know what we have been forgiven of we will love much.  We will be thankful and grateful to the God who saved us from His wrath and eternal destruction.  Humans tend to think we are pretty good. We are not good without Him. In fact, we must be crucified in Him to be brought into His family and our heart of stone must be replaced with a heart of flesh.  We were sinners living independently of God and needed a Saviour who would take away our sin.  Otherwise we are headed for a place we would rather not go. This key removes that lie from believers minds and unbelievers minds.  And we did not come up with this, He did.  I think people tend to minimize this when they explain the gospel to people and so people say superficial prayers, think they are saved but do not live a fruitful life.  In this key, the law is applied to people to expose sin, and make us aware that without God we are in desperate trouble. 

Key 3 Surrender:  Surrender shows what God did in Christ on the cross and the necessity to surrender to Him as an enemy to a King.  We are enemies and He will destroy us if we do not come to the Son. Every knee will bow.  It shows the Lordship of Christ and His amazing Grace. But He is Lord all the same and we want people to surrender to Him as Lord and Master of their lives.  They are giving up control of running their own lives. Within this is repentance and surrender.

Key 4 Believe:  Believe focuses on the truth of what God did the moment we were saved. The law has been fulfilled in Christ and we have entered into the fulfillment of that law because of HIS work, not our own.  This is grace of God. And its undeserved, not based on any merit of our own.  We were enemies of God and unprofitable, yet Christ died for us and set us free from sin's power. The appropriate response if we understand this, is incredible joy and thankfulness that just will burst out of us. So we focus on what He did and who we are now in Him.  He gave us a new spirit and heart.  He circumcised us.  He accepted us.  He made us clean and righteous. He made us perfect and complete in Him.  He justified us, sanctified us, sealed us, set us apart to Himself forever.  We have entered into Him and He entered into us, joining us to Himself.  We are His children now. Our identity is set and it was formed by our new birth. Not because of something we have done.  Now He treats us a His children. He leads us. Disciplines us. Grows us. Feeds us.  Gives of everlasting life all the time.  He is our life.

Key 5 Transform:  Transform focuses on  believing the truth of the Believe key.  This is the soul and body coming in line with the work God did in our spirit.  Our soul must come in line and believe. We must take thoughts captive into obedience to Christ.  We have been given the mind of Christ in the spirit and the emotions of Christ.  So we learn that every thought and every emotion that is ungodly is not from us “the new creation” we are.  Those thoughts and emotions are really from the flesh, and we learn here what the flesh is and that the flesh is not us.  The flesh is “with” us, but the flesh is not us (Romans 7).  The sin that lusts in the flesh is the sin lusting, not us lusting (Romans 6).  This is a challenge for our soul, but God reveals these things to us.  Our job is to believe Him, not to try to change. He knows the areas within us (in our soul) that do not yet believe and He provided experiences to challenge those thoughts and lies that we still think are true.  He exposes them, brings them to light, as we sit in His word, talk with other spiritual mentors and learn from Him as His Spirit speaks to us.  He speaks to us in a variety of ways, through sermons, movies, books, the Bible etc.  But His word always lines up with the truth of His word revealed in Scripture.  The Holy Spirit only reveals what is revealed in Scripture.  He shows us the mind of God, if  we will listen, putting aside every other thought that is contrary to His.  We come to accept His truth as THE truth.  Accepting nothing less and Yielding ourselves to His word and to Him and His will and leading.  We realize we are slaves of His, slaves of righteousness.  That’s what we really want.

Key 6 Abide:  Abiding is central to our existence in Christ.  If we do not abide in Him, we are not His.  It means we are not joined to Him and have not received His Spirit.  But if we have been born again, we ARE His and we do abide in Him.  We exist in Him and have been joined in Him and He in us.  The fullness of God is in us in Christ.  We are seated in the heavenlies in Him.  This is our actual reality: the kingdom of God.  Him in us and us in Him.  But Jesus also commands us to abide.  What does He mean?  He means we must believe that we actually abide in Him. Abiding is the same as faith, as waiting on Him, on placing our full trust in the work He did on the cross. In Him, we have overcome the world, the evil one and sin.  Abiding means we will walk in the spirit, being who we really are in Christ.  We will rest in His sovereign control and rest from worry.  He is working all things together, good and bad, for our good. He is working toward His will to establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  So when we believe this, and believe we are His and sealed in Him and that He is with us wherever we go and we can never be separated from Him and we can never fail because the work is actually His through us, then our soul rests and we live in peace and joy.  We realize we are a branch. We are responsible to believe Him, obey Him, love Him, love others, but knowing we cannot try to do these things. These things are from abiding in Him and Him revealing, loving, teaching through His Spirit in us.

Key 7 Love:   This principle is an abiding principle as well.  It’s based on identity.  We are born from love. Love is our Father.  We love as He loves. This is how we are designed.  Our heart beats like our Father's heart. He tells us in His Word what love is. And shows us that it is agape love. There is no agenda in this love.  Love is the same as obedience to Him. It’s the same as faith.  It’s all connected.  We are commanded to love Him, with no agenda in that love. And to love others. We love others with no agenda for self. We all. We forgive all.  Because we have been loved by God and forgiven everything forever.  So we are to love Him and others.  And ourselves.  When we look at the new creation we are and really understand who we are, there is nothing in us not to love.  We are beautiful beings, created in the image of God;  we are perfect and clean and righteous beings who live in a suit made for the planet.  We are sinless beings and God is growing us in the expression of this reality (the finished work Christ did in giving us a new spirit.)  We are so holy we can be in the holiest of holies all the time with God and not be destroyed. He would not join Himself with sin. He would not put His Spirit in a vessel that is sinful. He had to remove that old spirit, giving us a new one (a new wineskin) so He could give us His Holy Spirit (new wine).  Once we get this, and we no longer identify with failings, with the past, but with the reality of the new creation, we love ourselves truly. And we accept the process of growth as normal and healthy.

Key 8 Reign:  This is the kingdom reality of being in Christ and He in us. He reigns in and through us and is setting up His kingdom.  We are His ambassadors and to proclaim His good news to all He is speaking with.  We are not just to go evangelize everyone, we are to go with Him, listening to Him and speaking to those who He is leading us to to speak with.  Reigning is the reality that God is always working and we join Him in HIS work. We don’t try to go do good  “Christian works”.  We seek to know God, loving Him, listening to Him, allowing Him to guide our day in His presence and way. He guides us to those He is working with and our responsibility in this is to listen to His Spirit, to love His word, to know Him and obey Him.  He will bring us to areas that stretch our faith and grow us.  He is in charge and we are not.  He is King. And although He calls us Kings and Priests, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  We are on mission with Him.  So there is only one commander. Not two.  There is only one Mind and it’s His mind.  We are free to obey Him and love Him, not to try to set up a kingdom for ourselves.  We are merely stewards of His kingdom.  He has returned us to the garden of Eden in Christ, very much like Adam before the fall.  Adam was to take care of the earth and watch over all things as a steward of God.  Adam was loved as he walked and talked with God in unbroken communion. He was unashamed, fearless, and secure;  he had significant work to do.  He had no worries. All of His needs were met in God.  We are now the same in Christ and our walk is by faith, just as it was for Adam.  If we do not believe this, we will struggle. If we believe this, we begin to walk on water with God, experiencing Him and the power of His gospel as He transforms people around us.

Realize, Admit, and Surrender are consecutive.  A person must be brought from death to life, and only God can do that.  If they don’t know God they cannot be discipled.  We proclaim the gospel and if God is working people will respond to Him. He authors their faith, enabling them to cry out to Him. If they do not respond, we can assume He is not working at present.  It doesn't mean He won't work in that person's life at a later time, just that He is apparently not opening their hearts to believe presently.

Believe, Transform, Abide, Love and Reign are all true at once when a person becomes a child of God.  This is our reality in Christ.  As a new Christian, we know very little at first. So we must gain knowledge. Having knowledge is only helpful if we believe this knowledge. As we believe, our behaviour and the way we live will change.  This is why we are focusing first on behaviour change.  Behaviours change when beliefs change.  We are after value change, agreeing with God’s truth as THE TRUTH.

I believe that if people get this foundation, their  walk with God will be strong and vibrant. They will know what to do with fleshly thoughts and know how to walk in the victory they have in Christ.  They will love Him with their whole hearts and the truth will become a filter for them as they listen to sermons, read books, listen to people and interpret events and circumstances in life. The truth will be their guide and God will be their God.  They will learn to stand firm in Him and move with Him. And they will have joy. They will have fun walking with God and their thinking will come in unity with any other believer on the face of the earth who knows and loves God.  I believe this is the mind of Christ and there is only one mind. One Spirit. One truth.  God determines it, so it’s our responsibility to seek Him to know His mind and adjust all things to His will and His mind, not the other way around.

Does this make sense?  Or help in thinking through what this is about?  We are seeking to be people who are constrained only by Christ and who then live free.  Not constrained by a program, by a church, by a method, by people or accountability system or by any external force.  But only constrained by the love of Christ.  Then we are truly free.  We do not do this to grow our ministries, though God will grow them according to His will, or to make friends, though we will make friends, but to know and love God and walk in His will that HE may be glorified.  We do benefit and grow in the process, but our growth is a bi-product of glorifying God and walking by faith. We grow, we are healed, we are freed, we have joy, we get to walk with God and experience Him.  But our growth is not the goal. His glory is.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chosen by God


 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.These things I command you, that you love one another.  If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. ( John 15:16-21)

Chosen and appointed by God. We are wanted. Selected.  Chosen by God.  We have been chosen out of the world. Why? That we should bear fruit. He chose us so we might display the splendor of the One who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  He set us free from the power of sin and death, and now He works from within us to reveal Himself to the world around us wherever we go.  Why?  That He may be glorified.  
      So Jesus commands us, "love one another."  Why?  So the world will know we are His. They will know we are His disciples because of our love for one another.  Only disciples love this way. It's supernatural love, agape love.  A love that denies self and seeks the best for another. He says to love one another even as he has loved us and gave Himself up for us.  He loved us with an everlasting love.  Then He says, love your enemies and pray for those who spitefully use you, who slander you and say all manner of evil against you for righteousness sake.  Love. Pray.  Consider it all joy, He says.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is our reward in heaven.
     Years before, in the days if Isaiah, God spoke these words to His people: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' "Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them--Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.  For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'" Isaiah 41
      Our hope is in the Lord. Our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.  The Father called us, making us one in Christ.  He upholds us by His right arm, by Christ who sustains us.  He says, Fear not.  Fear not those who stand against you because they are as nothing to God.  Count it all joy. Rejoice. Fixing your eyes on Him.  Worshipping Him. Loving Him.  Resting your full assurance of faith on Him, for He who called you is faithful and He will do all He has promised. You live within the promises of God. They are fulfilled in you, now and forever.
  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Doubting

He who doubts will be like the surf of the sea tossed and driven by the wind.  Have you ever felt like that?  I have.  I can feel the power leave me when I doubt God.  I drain.  I become weak and prone to irritation.  When I walk by faith, fully resting on God and not on what I see or hear, I thrive and have strength and peace.

What a mystery of faith. What unseen power.  We walk by faith, not by sight.  These words are sure.  They drive our lives in Christ.  Yet such challenging words for us as we live on in our body for these days on the planet.

The eternal reality of faith is sure and solid, but remains unseen. We see the impact of faith, the evidence of our faith.  We see transformation happen around us, we sense peace that surpasses understanding; we feel that we soar, and yet we do not see it with our physical eyes.. It's like the wind that we feel, but we cannot see where it comes from.  It's an invisible force that blows the hair into our faces.  Our lives in Christ are driven by this wind, not the physical wind of course, but the wind of the Spirit of God.

He is the invisible force within us and through us, driving us forward, growing us and teaching us the deeper realities of God.  If we doubt, we struggle, we waver, we flounder, we feel stress and lack of peace, we doubt ourselves, we doubt God and we view our outer experiences as being powerful and important.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Teaching the Word

What is the most important part of teaching the Word of God?  That people might know God. That they might hear Him. That they might experience God.  God must speak.  Do you ever get into a situation where you know that if God doesn't come through you will utterly fail?  Unless God speaks through you and gives you the words to say, you will look stupid and not know what to say?  That is the Red Sea experience.

We say something like....God if you don't come through, I will utterly fail.  And then we trust. Then we cry out. Then we listen and wait upon Him. Then when we speak, the words come and God speaks and there is an impact we can never take the credit for. People experienced God and we know that even on our best day, we could not have come up with such wisdom on our own. It was God speaking, through a human vessel. Whether for 5 minutes or a whole day. Whether to one person or a whole crowd. It doesn't matter. What matters is that He is gloried. Not you. Not me.  Him. He receives all the glory and all the praise.

Yes, we study and seek to understand His Word. We seek Him and He teaches us, not so we can know a lot and teach, but so we can know Him, and teach what He is saying to teach.  Then when we speak, He uses our  our mouth to speak the deep things of God, deep from His heart.

To me, that is teaching.  It's Him, teaching through a human, words that have profound impact. Yet we are not trying to have impact.  We are just expressing what He has given us to express.  We are just a voice crying the wilderness, pointing the God we love.