Don’t believe the lies

There are some things in life that sound far too simple to grasp and yet, for some reason are difficult to believe and take within ourselves. Believing that Jesus died for you may be an easier concept to grab a hold of, most people manage to grab hold of that. For many the offer comes along at just the right time, much like a beacon of light on a dark night or a life raft. So we cling to it with all of our might. But now what? There is so much more!

Following Christ isn’t sin management. It isn’t checks and balances. It isn’t getting all cleaned up on the outside, while still living in despair within. It isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts, even though many teachings out there will have you believe it is. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

You are infinitely free from all of the above. You are free to be you while you walk along with your Lord every single day. When you said yes to Jesus, you died and were raised to life with Him. The old has gone, the new has arrived, His Spirit lives within you. He is there for your benefit, to guide you and to shape you into your new likeness, if you are willing to let Him in on it. You still have the free will to say no, but why would you? Life with Jesus is a beautiful relationship, the most beautiful relationship you will ever have! He has nothing but good things to say about you. He adores you and thinks nothing but good thoughts about you. His will for you is always the highest thing possible, He wants you to reach your fullest potential.

“I can’t afford to have thoughts in my head about me that God doesn’t have in his.” Bill Johnson

You know how when you mess up, your mind begins to reel and the next thing you know, your whole countenance has changed from light to dark? It’s like a snowball. It begins with negative thoughts that then begin to manifest themselves as problems around you. You break a glass or you hit every red light on the way home or your spouse shoots you a look that wasn’t joy filled. The life that we experience begins with the thoughts that occupy our minds. If you are busy thinking illegal thoughts about you or someone else, your mind darkens and what you see around you is more darkness or negativity.

Changing your thinking isn’t the crescendo, it is believing what you are thinking. Many people believe in Jesus but they don’t believe Him. Yep, that’s right, they don’t believe Him. They don’t believe all the good things He says about Him. This is the hardest part, this is where most people miss the bus on living life abundantly. Why is it so easy for most people to believe the terrible things that are said about them and not the kind and truthful things Jesus says about them? Because their faith was in others, rather than the One who truly loves us. Their identity is found in others, rather than the only One who knows who we are inside and out. Once we shift our focus from others to the only One who truly knows, the opinions and words of others fall to the wayside.

This is freedom. This is the one thing that if we don’t get this, there will always be some sort of anchor attached to our legs. We may move forward a little but with great striving and grief, not with ease and grace.

“Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:7-10

Hinge yourself upon this. I know I have shared this scripture with you before but it is infinitely important and applicable anytime. God does it, from start to finish. Say yes, that is all. With each step, say yes to Him. Anything you hear that is contrary to what He says about you is a lie. The lie may come from someone you love, do not condemn them but trust that the Holy Spirit within them will align them with all truth and simply remind yourself who you are in Him. That is all that you ever need to know about yourself, what He says.

Until we stop believing the lies, there isn’t much of a difference between us and the rest of the world. We can’t be tossed about by every word spoken over of, we are called to be different, to be certain, unshakable. This isn’t anything you can muster up on your own remember, God does it all from start to finish.

There is so much more to this blog, it will likely be multiple parts but I believe this is a good place to begin. I pray this blessed someone today, God bless you all!

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Who do they see when they see you?

“Let them see you, In me
Let them hear you, When I speak
Let them feel you, When I sing
Let them see you
Let them see you in me” Song; Let them see you, JJ Weeks band.

When the road is hard and long and you have been waiting forever for your breakthrough, what comes out of you? When you are among other people, are you kind and patient and loving? When a friend is down on their luck, do you encourage them and give them a hand up? 

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:46-48

If you allow this scripture to sink in, it will guide you in the art of loving like Christ. What risk is there, being loving toward strangers? If we know who we are in Christ and know that our Papa loves us, there is no sense of rejection. If we can’t even manage to welcome people from outside our church into the 4 walls we call church, how are we any different than the rest of the world? People go to church every week looking for the answer to the age old question; why am I alive? The physical building of the church can lead someone to that answer. But they have to feel welcome there. Church isn’t a country club for the elite saved folks, it’s a hospital for the once sick, in process of recovery! We are all in process. Never think so highly of yourself, that you have arrived, you are changing and evolving and growing just like the rest of us. I certainly don’t want to go somewhere, where I feel like I have to try and fit in. I already should fit in because we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that is enough. If you think there is more than that to qualify, then that thought pattern needs to be thrown out.

You have what it takes to be like Jesus, more than you may comprehend. You already are like Jesus, He lives within you, His spirit moves and breathes within you. Allow His warmth to wrap around others and love on them. Allow His peace to permeate wherever you are. Let His words leave your lips and fall upon the ears of those around you. The people around you are dying to see Him, you may be the only Bible someone reads. It is more in how you conduct yourself, than it is in what you say. The Pharisees were the holiest of holy but Jesus had bones to pick with them at every turn. They talked an awful lot and kept themselves quite cleaned up but the conditions on their hearts and their motives stunk. We don’t want to be found to be anything like them.

Throw love and kindness around like glitter! You’ll never run out and it doesn’t matter if you ever receive it back because Papa sees what you do and He will surely reward you well.

I hope this encouraged someone today. I know it’s a hard line but it hurts to hear about people trying out church and leaving saying they will never return. For someone who doesn’t know Papa yet, that’s a difficult situation. They went looking for something and allowed themselves to be vulnerable enough to go and somewhere along the line, they were let down. Heck, I’ve recently had some less than stellar church experiences but I know who Papa is, so I’m not discouraged. I’m sad about it, sure and it needs to change but we will continue our search for our new church home. It just won’t be the places we have already gone. I don’t want a red carpet but I do hope to see love for Jesus and love for your fellow believer. You can’t really have one without the other. Jesus did tell us, to love one another as I have loved you. If we miss that target, we’ve missed everything. God bless you all.

The breath of life

“God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void

For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I” song: So will I, 100 billion x

I remember hearing song posted above and it captivated me instantly. Songs don’t really do that to me anymore, whether secular or worship music but this one caught me off guard. “For once you have spoken, All nature and science follow the sound of your voice.” That lyric in particular, catches me. If everything, spare humans are as God intended, and they still follow the sound of His voice, what was His initial instruction to us?

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
        reflecting our nature
    So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
        the birds in the air, the cattle,
    And, yes, Earth itself,
        and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
    God created human beings;
        he created them godlike,
    Reflecting God’s nature.
        He created them male and female.
    God blessed them:
        “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
    Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
       for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” Genesis 1:26-28

I chose the message version for some of the wording— the words, being “responsible for the earth”, rather than the word “subdue” which some misunderstand for being domineering or controlling, treating however we wish, which I don’t believe was God’s intention. In the NIV, God instructs Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Multiply of course was make other little Adam’s and Eve’s but being fruitful is another, rather large subject. Jesus spoke a lot about fruitfulness. When God breathed life into Adam and also created Eve, they too, like the song, began to evolve in pursuit of what God said. And so we know how things fell apart quickly and so sin came into their perfect world God had created. They were cast out, to live in a sin shadowed land. Adam and Eve were the original light bearers. They could no longer bear that light because they invited darkness in. But let me ask you something. If Jesus restored the light by dying on a cross for us, taking up sin and death and even illnesses, isn’t our original relationship status with Papa restored?

Because of what Christ did, our relationship is restored to God. Our responsibility here is to be fruitful (expand the territory, bear the fruit of Christ) and multiply in number and also take care of or be responsible for the earth and all of it’s inhabitants. Christ lives within us, we ought to bear the fruit of Christ. We are responsible for the planet, one rather large goal of ours should be to reduce waste and our carbon footprints. We are responsible for animals, we should take care to not slaughter them to satisfy our appetites. (Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1:29)  This place, these animals, these people aren’t “things” that we can do as we please, this is our responsibility to steward it well. I feel like this is often a subject many won’t approach because it is a subject people become very passionate about or can be viewed in other ways or in other versions, the wording is different. Think about it, we were restored to our original plan for relationship with God. God walked in the cool of the evening with Adam, they spoke, God knew Adam and Adam knew God. You could say they did life together. When God looks at you, He sees what His Son did, not the darkness that broke out and cast it’s shadow over Eden.

What is fruitfulness then? Fruitfulness is lighting other peoples torches whose are still snuffed out. It is demonstrating your identity through love and action.

We all know the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23,
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” This is merely an outline of fruitfulness. Bearing fruit is so much more. It isn’t just a plan that works out so that you can glorify God. It isn’t just sharing the gospel with someone. It isn’t just filling up a backpack for needy children at the start of the school year. It isn’t “getting people saved,” or moving in the gifts of the spirit. These are great things, I am not speaking against them, I am saying they are not just these things. It is a lifestyle of never ending heavenly expansion, knowing that everywhere you go, you bring the kingdom with you. That even in your darkest hours and on your worst days, you still live and breathe Christ crucified and what He came to restore to you. That even when life squeezes you, Jesus still comes out. The hopeless need to see hope. The loveless need to feel love, not judgement. The lost need their footpath lit for them because after all someone else did that for you at some point! The Holy Spirit with produce these fruits for you. You need only yield to Him. How else can we be enabled to live like that, still having hope in the midst of trials, other than by the power of God? Other people need to see it, this is the kind of fruit people need to see. This is the kind of stuff that make people wonder why you’re so different than everybody else. Allow the Holy Spirit to work this within you.

We have a job here, a directive. Jesus was the exact representation of the Father while on the earth, our job is the same. He handed over the keys to us when He left, then sent His Spirit to give us the ability. There is nothing that is truly fruitful that we can do apart from the Father. Our world has been turned into a mess because of man’s perceived notion of fruitfulness. Man has lined his pockets with the monies made from his “fruitfulness.” It is high time we get our heads screwed back on straight and pick up where Jesus left off. We don’t have another earth to run to once this one is destroyed. If you think animals voluntarily go off to the slaughter and not cry out when they are killed, you are sorely mistaken. If you think someone else will make up for your rudeness, you’re wrong. Let’s love and respect everyone and everything because each are a gift from God. When He originally created everything, He said it was good. It is still good, we just have to get back to treating it like it is good, treating everything and everyone with love and respect.

Your relationship with Papa has been fully restored, there was no part of it that He didn’t take account for or miss. Let us live accordingly. I do know, this life, this walk with Jesus is a life long process. It is a day to day, sometimes minute by minute thing, matching His steps, one at a time. If we don’t have revelation about who we are called to be, then how can we, “Evolve in pursuit of what You said?” If we are uncertain of what He said, He left behind an entire book. And if that isn’t enough, He sent His Spirit. The wrong things begin to repulse us after a while, whether it is thinking patterns or habits. We no longer fit in the old mold from which we came, it’s terribly uncomfortable going back. So, let’s not go back anymore, let’s continue to move forward and evolve. Christ by His spirit will enable us to do so. Oh thank you Father that I am not who I once was! Oh friends, doesn’t that feel good? You have been restored. You are redeemed. You are made whole. You are dearly, dearly loved!

The ebb and flow of life.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” John 7:37-39

We have been in California for 2 weeks now, there are two things that I feel Papa in really working into us while being here so far. Trust and rest. We are foreigners here. I can count on one hand how many people we know or have met. We trusted Papa to get us out here and we will continue to trust Him to reveal our purpose here too. It was such a sudden move, He blew the doors open just as we had stopped considering a move across the country at that moment. How does a family like ours integrate ourselves into a new community, meet new people and make new friends? If there is any one thing I can take away from the entire moving and transplanting experience is, nothing can be rushed.

I had a lovely picture the Lord brought to my mind this morning as I was laying by the pool and praying. I saw a rocky terrain with water flowing through it, winding and turning freely through the rocks and pebbles. But then the water came upon some larger rocks and got an extra surge and powered right over them with no effort. I felt like the Lord was highlighting this to me today. Here is what I believed it meant for my family and possibly for you too.

There is a saying in this life that I have heard many times; just go with the flow. The trouble with that flow, is that it may be headed the wrong direction and from my experience it usually was. You certainly don’t want to have a damage plan for your life but a plan for hope, to be prospered and for a future, just like Papa says in Jeremiah 29:11.

When you are living in the flow of the Spirit, it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are with, you will succeed. It does not matter what obstacles are in your way, the Holy Spirit flowing within you and through you help you power through. Nothing is too hard for God. God is not afraid of what you are facing. He is aware of the diagnosis. He knows about all the bills; the heartache, the dreams that died, the foreign land that you are in. If the Holy Spirit is within you none of these momentary troubles stack up against the power and the strength that raised Christ from the dead.

If I am flowing with Him I have nothing to fear. It’s at the moment that I step outside of His flow that I have exercised my will, inviting in fear and all of his nasty friends. If I am flowing with the Spirit is there any challenge I cannot take on or any task too great? You see, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me and was He ever impressed by fallen or broken circumstances? No— and neither should we. Jesus walked this earth, just like we do each day but He lived from the heaven to earth. We have the ability to do the same!

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:6

This is us friends! We are seated with Him. We have His spirit within us to conquer whatever this life may throw at us! He didn’t get ruffled about everything. He didn’t tailspin when He was having a seemingly bad day, He flowed with Papa right through His days. He ushered in heaven wherever He went. Jesus went with the flow, He went with the heavenly flow. He didn’t “fit in,” He stood out, we are called to stand out, to be in this world but not of it, meaning not an extension of it. This world isn’t meant to make it’s mark on me, I am to make a mark on it. This world and it’s ideologies are a shadow of the world and life to come. We have found our little corner of heaven here in California but we know that this isn’t where we kick our feet up and consider ourselves as having arrived. I don’t know exactly what we are doing here but Papa does and we know that He will reveal all the ways we can bring heaven with us wherever we go.

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17 NKJV

Oh friends, let the love of God flow through you everywhere you go! Know that His Spirit flows within you and makes all things possible should you just trust Him. Know that His heart toward you is good, His thoughts about you number more than the grains of sand. His love for you is more than you are able to imagine. Just ask Him how much He loves you! Allow yourself to follow in His flow, no thing that you encounter will be too difficult. He has no fear of the things that lie before you, therefore you can have confidence that as long as you are hidden in Him, you shall have no cause to fear either. I pray this blessed someone today!

Supernatural love

“But in knowing and loving God, I am released to a measure of supernatural love that is unattainable apart from God.” Bill Johnson

Our little family circle has a wealth or challenges. Challenges that someone who is superhuman could manage and endure. I am well aware of my short comings as a mere human, so every day I look to the Lord for my strength. There are days I think I have it handled and run out ahead of Him, I am quickly reminded that He is the only one who is equipped to put the fires out. Fortunately, those days are getting to be fewer and further between because I think my stubborn butt is getting around to realizing that trying to take a short cut winds up turning into a long road.

Put your hand on your chest. You feel that? That’s a gift. We wouldn’t have a heartbeat if it weren’t for Him. Why on earth would I ever think I could love others effectively without His supernatural ability working within me?

Agape love is what we are called to, it is a persistent, unconditional kind of love. It is the highest form of love. It is the love of God for man and of man for God. (source Wikipedia) I love that part of the description above, persistent and unconditional. Unconditional of course literally means; without condition. Conditions being those walls and limitations I have been referring to in prior posts.

I will share with one of my favorite stories about Jesus showing agape love to a man. When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-4

A leper was an outcast, or was cast out of a community for being “unclean.” It was a slow and painful death, where the victim was littered with sores all over their body. If for any reason a leper left their camp and were to walk anywhere near where everyone else frequented, they had to yell “unclean” as they approached other people. I can’t imagine how lonely it was to be this kind of outcast but also humiliating. This man, whoever he was, was someones son; possibly someones husband or father and friend. But he was sent away because of a medical condition. He was likely missing the sensation of physical touch, affection even. Jesus touched him to make him well. But instead of Jesus becoming unclean (which was believed to happen in that day) Jesus made the man clean. So, Jesus in a simple act of loving this man, fulfilled many things he desperately needed. The need of physical touch; love, acknowledgement, acceptance, restoration and willingness. These are just a handful of the things that jump out at me. This is supernatural love!

I have not touched a leper and seen them made clean but I have the opportunity to love and serve my family every single day, outside of my ability. Because the demand on me, is far outside of my ability. I am not a doctor or nurse but I am called to be one every day. I am not a chef but I am called to be one. I don’t have the capacity to keep track of the hundreds of things I need to on a daily basis but I know the Holy Spirit will prompt me. In every day and in everything I do, I know where my strength and ability comes from. I am the mother of a child who physically relies on me for her movement. I am a small woman whose back is in terrible shape but the Lord upholds me every single day. Agape love begins at home. It is possible because I am willing. If I say I can’t do it some days, it is because I won’t, I have allowed myself to become unwilling.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Mother Teresa

Love those around you without condition or motive. Just love them where they are at. Love them even if they can’t repay you. Love them the way Christ loves us. You can’t lose. Even if they don’t love you back, you don’t lose. Because getting them to reciprocate love isn’t the objective. Love others as though you have never been hurt, love them openly and unafraid. Because perfect love casts out all fear and perfect love is only found at it’s source, Papa.

It was Good Friday today. Today we think on the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus having paid the highest price, hanging on a cross for all. He didn’t just die for those who believe, He died for all, no exceptions. The Roman soldiers who spit on Him and laughed at Him, He died for them too. The lepers; the addicts, the outcasts, the poor, the rich, everyone. Jesus knew His Father and knew the Father’s heart, Jesus knew where His strength and ability to love came from. Jesus was the exact representation of the Father. Apart from God, we do not have the ability to loves others in this way. We get in the way of loving in such a grand way.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the other person or you don’t hold the same values or belief systems. Love them. It doesn’t matter if the person even likes you, love them. Love covers over a multitude of sins.

I hope this has blessed someone today and possibly challenged you too. We are called to be a light in this world, not rule book keepers. Just love people, they will see Christ in you.