Complete and perfect. Lacking nothing. It gave all that it was and all that it has.. no more left to give. Perfect Love.

Can I grasp that if I stop breathing today, it doesn’t matter? Can I comprehend that if everything comes against me I’m still whole? Nothing can be taken away if I’m whole. Nothing can be lost if I’m whole. He asked the man with the issue of 39 years, “will you be made whole?” Perfect love is complete.

God is Love. No man has “seen” God. And no man can “see” the Kingdom of God because it’s internal (inside of us). The first fruit named in the list of the fruit of The Spirit of God is LOVE… and the list goes: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. There is also no law, as “ALL OF THE LAW is full-filled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” He didn’t say love your nice neighbors or only the neighbors you look like or agree with and didn’t even say love the neighbors that are good people. He just said love thy neighbor – the ones we share this earth with and then in Mathew 5, Jesus gave even more clarification on this when He said “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” What is this prayer? Jesus demonstrated while he was being persecuted by praying to the Father to “forgive them.” He even took up for them as if he could see what was operating in them who were hurting him so violently when he said, “they know not what they do.” That sounds like the kind of prayer that I would pray for my own child – the kind of plea that I would deliver to the judge that had the power to sentence my child to death. I would say, “please don’t punish him for this, he didn’t know any better judge… He didn’t mean to, he didn’t know what he was doing, please forgive him!” That’s the kind of prayer the Lord says we should pray for our enemies. LOVE for an enemy just as strong as the love we would plead over our own flesh and blood is the kind of love Jesus demonstrated.

Love is seen in 1 Corinthians 13:4 as Paul says that Love suffers long, it’s kind and it doesn’t envy… Love doesn’t seek it’s own gain or it’s own will, it’s not easily provoked into anger, it doesn’t think evil thoughts, it doesn’t rejoice in iniquity but it rejoices in truth, it bears all things, believes, joys and hopes all things and it NEVER FAILS. Different translations call this word charity but in the greek it was AGAPE which is if there such a way to say it – a LOVE that is stronger than any kind of love. An impossible love.. A Godly love. like the love that was demonstrated by Christ on the cross – a LOVE that prevails even when the object of love is landing blows, ripping our skin to shreds and nailing us to a cross to die. Can you imagine your child that you love, beating you and killing you and as you lay down your life for that child willingly, the only thing your heart desires is for that child to LIVE. You don’t care what he did to you. You don’t care what pain he’s put you through. You don’t care how horrible or evil he may be.. YOU JUST LOVE HIM!!! YOU JUST WANT TO HIM TO LIVE!!! And you’ll die for him and you’ll take the punishment. You’ll stand before the judge and beg, “please take me instead! Don’t hurt my child, let him go! Take me instead! All your anger and all your sentences that my child deserves… pour it on me! I’ll take it all just please… let him go.”

This is the way Jesus demonstrated love. And what is love? GOD IS LOVE. The unseen yet the most powerful essence of all existence is LOVE. It can cause a person to crazy things, to sacrifice everything and to go to the ends of the earth for another… where there is love.

LOVE that is perfect (GOD’S LOVE) casts out fear. And fear is a “spirit” according to 2 Timothy… A spirit that GOD DID NOT GIVE US. God so LOVED the world, he gave His Son. And His son did indeed cast out demons and heal the sick and give sight to the blind and set the captives free. God so LOVED the world he gave it the thing it needed most – the medicine that would heal it’s illness and save those who would head to the Lord’s instructions.

But…. there are 4 types of LOVE..

Agape love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. This Greek word, agápē, and variations of it are frequently found throughout the New Testament.

Eros (Pronounced: AIR-ohs) is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love. The term originated from the mythological Greek god of love, sexual desire, physical attraction, and physical love, Eros, whose Roman counterpart was Cupid. – Erotic love as found in the song of Solomon.

Storge (Pronounced: STOR-jay) is a term for love in the Bible that you may not be familiar with. This Greek word describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and brothers and sisters.

Philia (Pronounced: FILL-ee-uh) is the type of intimate love in the Bible that most Christians practice toward each other. This Greek term describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships.

Philia is the most general type of love in Scripture, encompassing love for fellow humans, care, respect, and compassion for people in need. The concept of brotherly love that unites believers is unique to Christianity. Jesus said philia would be an identifier of his followers: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:35, NIV)

Agape (Pronounced: Uh-GAH-pay) is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. This term defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure.

Jesus Christ demonstrated this kind of divine love to his Father and to all humanity in the way he lived and died. Following his resurrection, Jesus asked the apostle Peter if he loved him (agape). Peter replied three times that he did, but the word he used was phileo or brotherly love. Peter had not yet received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; he was incapable of agape love. But after Pentecost, Peter was so full of God’s love that he spoke from his heart and 3,000 people were converted.

Interesting scriptures…

John 5:42 Verse Concepts

but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.John 13:35 Verse Concepts

“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”John 15:9 Verse Concepts

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.John 15:10 Verse Concepts

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through LOVE. – wow, he is the author of faith and faith works THROUGH LOVE – like a doorway, a narrow gate.. it’s the WAY – the mediator between us and faith is LOVE.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Once again the bridge or path or way that’s spoken of is LOVE – “THROUGH LOVE” we serve one another. Through HIM that is Love.

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love…. – We are only holy and blameless before him if we are “IN LOVE” – abiding in and this demonstrates a connection to the scripture – we love him because he LOVED US FIRST.. HE chose us in love and “IN LOVE” we are blameless before him.

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, – the presence of JESUS is among us and our LOVE for all the saints.. it’s the connection that IS… (and all things were created by Him and without Him nothing exists – We were created in JESUS – IN LOVE)



What is antichrist? anything that testifies of anything other than Christ came into the flesh. Christ “inside” vs everything else. The fruit of these spirits will be weighted on self desire and self will – see all things that are flesh creations that war against the spirit of God.

Anything means anything including prophecy. We can have experiences and visions and prophecy and even gifts of God and not KNOW Jesus. Jesus coming inside the flesh is the only testimony that is CHRIST. Everything else is NOT Christ. Standing in front of the throne – the devil did that. Prophecy – very often given as warnings and signs of what is to take place and the devil has it, hence why in Revelation it says he went after the seed because he KNEW HIS TIME was short. Spirits saying “time is short” doesn’t pass the testing of spirits. Likewise spirits saying virtually anything EXCEPT Christ came into the flesh, is not of Christ. And of these who speak in his name, prophecy, cast out devils and perform wonders, are they deceiving and deceived one in the same? Jesus said to the pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” The father of lies does according to a will that is NOT GOD’s will – seated in lusts – self desire. The truth of all men is what resides inside of them. It’s either Christ or its not, regardless how holy or clean it may look on the outside – the only boasting it will ever do is of HIM WHO LIVES IN ME.

Is free will a gift from God? NO. The word of God says let no man say they are tempted of God. We’ve turned this into troubles and trials. If something bad happens in our lives, don’t blame God. That’s not accurate. God promises we will have trouble in this world and elaborates greatly on the refining, correcting, chastising and trials of his children. He says if you don’t face this stuff you’re a bastard – Who HE LOVES he also chastises. That is not the same thing as temptation. God did NOT give Adam and Eve free will. He said “don’t do this.” That’s instruction of HIS WILL. There is no gray area here for slack or negotiation. HIS WILL IS LIFE and HE SAID DON’T TOUCH the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He gave HIS WILL and instruction and they chose otherwise, which is a choice that leads to death. God’s will for us is that we don’t perish. That’s what HE WANTS. Yet we are perishing because of lack of knowledge – lack of FEAR of God (fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge) and lack of Jesus, which defines divine knowledge as HE IS THE TRUTH. If we walk in the LIGHT OF GOD, then our sins are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, if we do NOT walk in the LIGHT OF GOD, we are walking in death. People often say because God loves us he gave us free will. That is utterly false from the mouth of the devil himself. Because God loves us he gave us LIFE – and HIS LIFE desires for us to partake of LIFE (to be made one with Him and His Son). The devil in his subtle trickery offers free will, which leads to death.

Free Will… It’s an interesting study because it’s often spoken of as a gift from God. But where did He give it? He gave Adam and Eve Eden and everything they could desire within (except one stumbling block that was against HIS will).. Satan’s the one that offered them free will – which was to go against God’s will. But how could it be a gift when the outcome is death? Looking at something else God gave – the gift of His Son who certainly didn’t exercise anything remotely close to “free will”.. In fact the thing He spoke in just about every encounter was “I do my Father’s will.”… “I do the will of the one who sent me.” He did nothing by HIS OWN WILL and allowed no one to think otherwise. “YOU can DO.. YOU can CHANGE… YOU can ACHIEVE… You can CONQUER… YOU can –Fill in the blank with pretty much anything— and it’s a self-made throne.

A lot of sermons today are preaching free will – wrapped un in a pretty bow with the name of Christ attached to it. But it’s not of Him.  He said follow ME.  He didn’t say you could make a way, he said HE’s the only way.  He didn’t say you could have or achieve or create.  He said you can lay down your life and surrender to Him.

God is in control of every single micro-cell within His creation. and every word He spoke will come to pass according to HIS will for the glory of HIS name.

The illumination of God is repeatedly described in the scriptures as a destination of repentance.   Yet that very word so often leads us to looking outside for the revelation of Christ in our world today.  We apply what we learn in the Word of God to the activities of those who are displayed before us – whether it be family members, neighbors, celebrities or leaders who’s lives are masqueraded before us on a television screen.  We see the need for repentance in the heart of others, and we place ourselves in the judgement seat…. looking outward.  And this form of comparison almost always is birthed in pride.

Paul said his heart was full of sorrow and deep anguish.  His love was demonstrated towards his brothers and sisters in Christ and he labored for them continuously.  However the deep anguish that NEVER ceased within his heart was directed at those who were not following Christ.  He calls them his brothers and sisters too.  And the battleground in his heart, I can almost see as I read his words.  These were those that were opposing him – his enemies, so to speak.  They were the ones that were entangling his beloved believers in Christ in bondage – they harnessed the very evil that he was combating in his ministry, yet he cared deeply for them.  It’s interesting how we view enemies in the battleground of flesh and blood.  We see someone causing harm to the ones we love dearly and we go after them – we accuse them and we condemn them and we secretly call for their fall in the deepest desires of our deceitful hearts.  In one breath we marvel at the indescribable love of Christ who died for the sins of the world and then in the next we desire for that blood to be erased from “all” and only apply to the ones we choose, convincing ourselves that we can choose righteously.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus told the church of Ephesus “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”  I don’t pretend to have an answer for any of the scriptures as I believe the LIVING WORD OF GOD is a continual story between the creator an his creation, revealing truth to each of us differently as the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts the matters of our hearts in conviction and truth pertaining to us directly (individually and corporately as God sees fit).  But when I read this I’m reminded of where I had fallen – the condition of me when the Lord revealed who HE is and very disturbingly I was shown who I am too.  In those moments, my world didn’t even spin.  My life was broken so badly that nothing outside of the four walls of an ICU room even existed to me.  I didn’t care what was going on in the news or in my communities.  I didn’t care if my house was burning down back home and quite honestly it didn’t matter if the entire world was on fire outside of those windows.  Nothing mattered to me but God and the extreme pressure and burden of seeking out what He was revealing to me through the fiery trial I found myself in.  I could hardly breathe at times – so overwhelmed with grief and the burden was so heavy, I remember in the midst of some of my prayers – moments when I was crying out to God when I just wished he’d kill me.  I despised myself and the life I didn’t deserve or what to even live.

There is no looking outside when we find ourselves in that kind of illumination.  The heaviness of ourselves is more than I could bear – I didn’t have room in my heart or in my mind to find faults in anyone else.  The sins of the world felt like they were wrapped up with a shiny bow and planted directly inside of me.  I’ve never seen my own filth like that before.  I’ve never before seen my own pride against God.  I’m balling writing this right now, I’m thankful that He allows me to remember that place in my own mind – that he hasn’t allowed me to forget “from whence thou art fallen.”

If there were no one else on this Earth but me and my husband that I love very much…  Who would I look to for a demonstration of evil?  And if we walked completely in the righteousness of Jesus in a state of utter peace, would we be safe there?  Imagine a world with no more arguments, no violence or murders, no money controlling the greed of the people, no sickness or disease – NO FAULT NO BLAME and no problems whatsoever… just paradise, peace and love.  Because that’s where Adam and Eve were when the fell.  So where is the battle?  Is it outside of us?  And where is the enemy?  Jesus only spoke directly to Satan a handful of times and the last time recorded was when he addressed his beloved disciple Peter.  Satan had entered Peter’s thoughts.  And I ask myself, if one of the 12 hand selected by God himself to walk with Christ and learn from him in the flesh could be possessed by Satan, should I really deceive myself to assume that I’m qualified to judge in others within whom Satan dwells or does not dwell?… And am I safe from such an overtaking?

The conclusion I come to within myself is simply this…  I’m not better than Peter… I’d be a fool to even assume such a crazy idea.  If he can be overtaken, I’d better know that I can certainly be overtaken if not for the mercy of God to protect me from such minute by minute and hour by hour.

My prayer this morning is that the Lord help us to keep our eyes on Jesus – not to seek out evil in others and to be reminded of from whence we have fallen with a heartfelt cry to never allow us to return to that state of delusion again.  Father don’t let us be used as a device of the enemy, but instead fill us with the love that overcomes the darkness and in that, teach us how to LOVE OUR ENEMIES, battling in spirit not in in the flesh with the same unceasing anguish that Paul felt in wanting all of our brothers and sisters to come to repentance and in-line with the Father’s will that NOT ONE should perish.  Father, remind us that you are the potter and we are merely clay – dust from the ground, illuminated by a God that is no respecter of persons.  And with thanksgiving in our hearts for the mercy we receive but do not deserve, fix our eyes on the things that are lovely and pure as your word says, “to the pure, all things are pure.” – Titus 1:15.  Lord I know we live in the last hour and we all walk on very shaky ground.  Please pull us in closer to you and shield us from the temptations that we don’t have the mind-power or discernment to overcome, but only the Lord Jesus is and was and will always be our over-comer.  Let us never forget that we are here to be tested and tried and if we had overcame all that is ordained for us, we wouldn’t be here right now.  Our race continues and we need you Lord.

In Jesus name’ <3

 

 

 

Is Salvation possible by a prayer or a spoken belief?  And is the gift of salvation simply a destination or is it a gift that impacts our lives now?

Bible Study of the book of 1 John – Part 1

In 1 John, he begins in testifying of what He has seen – something that this world had never before been seen…  Jesus.  He is the eternal life that always was from the very beginning.  But this man that writes this letter, He has witnessed first-hand a mystery of the illumination of God in the organic world called Earth.  As He now declares the conviction he carries inside of his soul… a conviction that has provided him with a joy that doesn’t fade away or waver…. a joy that can’t be bought or sold or changed by any other news – a joy that is made full.

And the message he declares?….   “GOD IS LIGHT.  And in HIM there is no darkness at all”.  To this point John has only spoken of himself and mankind as a witness – nothing of this decree pertains to us.  It only pertains to GOD.  His everlasting life.  His son manifested to us.  His greatness and the condition of HIM and HIS countenance… GOD IS LIGHT (pure light).

And when the subject of “us” enters the discussion, a contrast between us and God is made immediately.  Darkness enters this discussion and a big “IF” surfaces.  We’re either with him or we’re with ourselves.  We’re either walking in HIS light or walking alone in a delusion called darkness.  And this journey is not one that can be spoken of or declared to make it so.  It must be real.  Walking a walk… not talking a talk.  Which is clearly what is happening as John brings our words into verse 6 when he says, “IF WE SAY“….  Speech… What is it really?  Men are liars by nature… We speak easy and we rarely see the manifestation of the very words that our lips utter“IF WE SAY we have fellowship with HIM but walk in darkness we are liars and do not have the truth”If we say we know him.. If we say we follow him.. if we say we believe in him… it means nothing unless our walk lines up with our speech.  Perhaps saying nothing at all is a better demonstration of separating our unclean lips for the realities of where we are in truth.  And the next words that John writes…  well, they hit me hard.  Because the “IF” of salvation, (the condition… the requirement), is declared in one simple line.  John writes, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”  We’re either liars, lying to ourselves and deceiving ourselves or we’re with HIM for real… And being with HIM for real is a requirement to being cleansed of all sin by the Son, Jesus Christ.

Who is cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus?  Those who walk in the light of God.

Not those who say something with their mouth alone, as John demonstrated clearly in the opposition of our words to our walk.  He called us liars and delivered the big “IF”…  And that’s puzzling as a visual that our minds try to seek out and make sense of.  What does it mean to walk in the light of God and how can I know if I’m doing this?

God showed me something a few weeks ago about the balance.  The Word of God says that we will be weighed in a balance.  And in this revelation He showed me a connection in the meaning of the word “light.”  Weightless….  Light as feather… TO BE LIGHT.. TO BE WEIGHTLESS.  And I have pondered this and I have prayed about it and I’ve begged the Lord for understanding.  And sometimes that understanding is given in a way that I can grasp only for a moment, bits and pieces.  But as I went back to this text, I see the weightlessness.  John continues, “If we say we have no sins, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  This is layering on what he decreed about us a few lines before.  That we are liars that so easily SAY something in contrary to who we are and where we are.  And it’s not even about sin in this text as the condition.  John is telling on all of us, declaring we DO HAVE SIN.  And if we can’t see that about ourselves then we’re living inside of a lie.  It’s about illumination of who we are… the ability see our own sickness…. our own condition and to weigh ourselves in the balance and be honest about what we are carrying around externally and internally.  The heaviness of this world and the heaviness of ourselves.  In Luke Jesus said, “WATCH YOURSELF!  Don’t let your heart be weighed down by the cares of this world or that day will come upon you as a snare.”  This is a huge warning.  If God in the flesh is saying “watch out!” this isn’t something to be taken lightly.  And speaking of lightly, he calls this stuff WEIGHT… “Don’t let your heart be WEIGHED down.”  By what?  The cares of this world….  Fear.  Desire.  Ego. Pride. Guilt.  SELF – all of the natural responses of the human mind and the human body to the world that we live in today.  And here we are in the United States plagued by things like opiods and social media.  We need a fix for our condition and we are drowning in the painful skeletons that we’ve buried in our own minds. We’ve been hurt, deceived, abandoned, kicked down and in response we’re all treading water outside of the Titanic hoping for a lifeboat to come along but the ONLY ONE that can pick us up out of our own mucky waters…  we allow Him to pass by us day, minute after minute, hour after hour…  “Not today Jesus, I’ll catch a ride with you tomorrow… Let me fix this crisis I’m in and THEN I’ll find time to talk to you.”

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Can we see the darkness that keeps us locked in chains by the WEIGHTS we carry?  Jesus calls them “HEAVY burdens.”  And in His compassion He’s holding his hand out to us with a solution for our weariness. He knows we’re tired and we can’t carry this stuff anymore.  Our knees are weak and our hands are calloused and we’re gasping for air because we can’t tread this water much longer.  We can’t keep running 99 miles an hour each day searching for a moment of peace and the only thing that seems to come our way is more fires to put out, more heartbreak to mourn and more SELF to run away from in the depths of our own decisions – the immortality that tugs at our conscious as we run away from everything we hate about the one who stares back at us in the mirror.  The failures of being the husband or wife we should be.. The lies we tell to get what we want, the money that we serve – like it’s a ticket to a far away paradise that we can one day achieve, all the while our friends and our neighbors are dropping like flies as the pestilences of our nation increase.  We see children dying of cancer, senseless murders, horrific accidents and young people taking their own lives in higher numbers than EVER before.  When does this weight get lifted off of us?  When we can breathe again?  When we can rest again instead of laying in bed with a movie screen playing in our minds of all that the things that we forgot to do, can’t fix, can’t decide and can’t overcome.  Even the short moments of exhale only lead to another whirlwind around the corner.  The pressure of this life is a WEIGHT that overtakes every single one of us and it’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of when we will be brought to our knees.

But John said, it doesn’t have to be this way….  He said, “these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”  FULL – not half empty… not temporary.. not fleeting.. not based on whether you have a good day, which is snatched up when we wake up tomorrow having a bad day.  REAL JOY.. TRUE JOY.  FULLNESS OF JOY – not depending on the world or the circumstances that surround us in this world.

WALK IN THE LIGHT OF GOD….  Give it to me, Jesus is saying to us.  My hand is open, take that trash bag that you’re carrying inside of your heart and empty it into the scars on my palms that I wear for YOUR FREEDOM.  Let me cleanse you of yourself.  Don’t carry that burden anymore.  Stop trying to be something you can never and will never be.  Perfect.  That’s what GOD IS.  Not us.  We’re liars and sinners.  We’re deceivers by the very nature of the flesh.  We’re the retards that wake up each day smiling at one another saying, “I’m doing great.” when the truth within us is bondage.  We’re weighed down and heavy and we’re suffocating and we need release from OURSELVES.

Have you ever just sat there in the honesty of your own thoughts… and said to yourself…  “I don’t want to be me anymore.”  I have.  I think about all of the pursuits of “perfect” I’ve made in my life and silly they all are now.  From plastic surgery to volunteer work, I’ve done so many things to clean myself up on the inside and on the outside… searching for ways to just feel good about myself.  None of them last.  The newness of fixing a physical flaw wears off and only leads to discovering the next flaw to obsess over.  Doing something good for another person brings on a false humility that uncovers the motives of my own heart.  I want people to think highly of me.  I want people to say, “She’s a good Christian.. she’s got a good heart.”  For what?  So I can get a cool phrase etched on my casket stone?

What I’m learning about me… is that I’m just a sculpture made out of sand..  a spec of dust trying to build sand castles on a beach with a tsunami headed its way.  Everything I’ve ever done is vanity.  Everything but one thing… SURRENDER.  And that one thing I’ve got to fight with myself to do every single day.  I tell the Lord, “I don’t want to be me anymore… I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough, PLEASE take my life and mold it into something that matters.”  But I wake up the next day with weights thrown on my shoulders and like a victim of amnesia I go at it again.. swimming against a current I can’t overcome.  Until I’m so broken down and defeated within myself that I come to my senses and remember, “GIVE IT TO HIM!…   Get rid of this heaviness… cast off the cares of this world and ask Him to pull you into His light… His weightless, illuminating light that sets you free from this place and free from YOURSELF.

Jesus has bought us with a price and He’s offering an inner peace and inner joy that this world can never give us.  But we have to give our lives to him.. Not partially, fully.  We have to ask the Lord to show us our sickness and our darkness (the viruses that are kept in the deepest crevices of our hearts).  We have to give him OUR WILL.  Surrendering is laying our own desires, like a child that doesn’t know what this day brings and doesn’t even care because she knows her Father is calling the shots…  If she’ll only let him.  If we can stop running from him and run to him with every single thought, every decision, every pain, every WEIGHT that tries to put us back in bondage again.  And what we give him, he makes clean.  An emptied vessel CLEANED FROM ALL SIN by the blood of Christ.  Weightless and emptied out.  LIGHT because it’s filled by HIM in place of what used to be called “us”.

I’m sharing today from the book of 1 John.  Please pray over this text that I’m pasting in full below and ask the Lord to show you what’s weighing you down and keeping you from walking in HIS LIGHT.  God bless you all in the will of our Father in Heaven and the SON that dwells within the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

1 John 1 King James Version (KJV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In the book of Galatians, Paul came to the people with a compassionate warning about the changes they had made to the way they were living their lives.  He came in correction pleading with them… Why are you doing this to one another?  Why are you doing this to yourselves?  Why are you allowing others to convince you of a lie?

Vanity… Glory that is developed in the mind, a counterfeit to the Glory of God, which is Christ Jesus… crucified.  The flesh killed and no longer of importance to matter in anything.  Yet we judge by the flesh, do by the flesh, justify by the flesh and live by the flesh creating a sculpture of righteousness in an image that is condemned by the nature of what it is and can never be….  Holy.

Today, I know that people all over this country will file into church buildings seeking justification for the flesh.  “Doing” a thing that will save them.  We will sing and clap and take notes and move our lips to the prayers of another’s heart.  We will post pictures, “check-in” on facebook and scroll our feeds to see who is and who is not sacrificing their time this morning to serve the Lord.  After an hour or so of doing this thing we do for the Lord, we’ll walk out of a building feeling renewed…. until lunchtime… or dinnertime if we’re lucky.

I met a young girl in the medical center a few months ago.  She was there because her baby was in the ICU, having seizures and the doctors couldn’t figure out why.  She told me that she was homeless – living in a shelter downtown. And she started talking to me about God. It’s funny how I look for opportunities to minister to others about Jesus and from the most unlikely vessels, HE ministers to me.  She can’t get to church because she has no transportation and more problems than I’d even know what to do with weighing her down with two children and no place to call home for them all.  But she said that she worked very hard to get to a service that weekend.  I didn’t have to ask why… I knew the answer.  I remember that feeling well, when you’re in the valley and your life is shattered in the wreckage of fear with something so dear to you slipping swiftly out of your hands.  I remember searching for an army that would stand by my side and pray for me and the miracle I so badly needed.  And when the dust settled in the slightest bit, as the storm raged on, the place I had to get to as fast as possible…it was the church.  I needed to be surrounded by brothers and sisters of faith.  I needed to be embraced by hearts that are overflowing with love and compassion – people who would help carry my burden of pain, walk with me through the nightmare I found myself entangled in and stand as warriors in prayer with me for the words I was too weak to speak myself…. to make requests before the throne of God that I was too wounded to utter in unwavering belief.  My eyes had been tainted – attacked by the manifestation of tragedy.  I’d seen things so horrible, my knees would buckle from underneath me and my legs could no longer stand.  I’d been told things so gut wrenching, the acids of my stomach churned in fright-fullness.  She was there now, this young girl.  She was walking through the valley clinging to a hope that her baby girl would make it through this trying time, overwhelmed by the delicacy of each passing moment and the unknown fate of her tomorrow.

As time has passed by, I have lost many friends – virtually all of them.  The ones that I felt close to before tragedy struck our lives we don’t hear from anymore.  Yet God has sent many people into our lives.  Some of these connections are so unlikely, it’s almost puzzling to recall how it all happened. One woman in particular that the Lord sent into my life lives half way across the country – a stranger that has become family to me today. When I was searching in all the places I knew to search to find “family”…. I found nothing but dry wells.  But God sent vessels in his timing and by his design that would walk with me through the fire… Eyes that would cry with me, hearts that would pray with me and battle for me and my family in the Spirit of the Lord.

It seems like today, when I end up in random conversations about the Lord, the most important question that surfaces (and it ALWAYS surfaces) is “Where do you attend church?”  There’s something extremely powerful in this notation – I can literally see and feel the enmity that comes forth in these discussions and it’s the same spirit ever single time I answer with “I don’t attend a church” – immediately forming thought of condemnation towards me.  I have been lectured by people numerous times.  I’ve been told, “You’re not doing your part…. You’re not serving the Lord.”  And I think about this young woman I met at the hospital.  I think about the people all over the world that can’t get to a church this morning.  And they want to…. They NEED a family.  They need someone to pray over them and love them and hug them and help them.  They are poor and hungry and have no transportation.  They are sick and confined to a bed in need of healing and hope.  They are lonely and guilt-stricken in the confinement of a prison cell.  They are holding their babygirl wondering how long the breath of life will remain in a body that’s operated by a brain malfunctioning in seizures.

How did this happen to us?  When did we start believing again that what we do can dictate or earn God?  When did we put ourselves on the cross and in our own pride make an image of sacrifice by the deeds of the one in the mirror?  When did we convince ourselves that our hands can harness the keys to salvation – looking down at fingers clasped together and finding NO EVIDENCE of nail scars in them.  HE DID what we are incapable of ever doing to the confession of our hearts in truth that everything WE do is vanity.

James 1:27 says this, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Unspotted from the world….  Don’t do what they do… Don’t act like them, don’t dress like them, don’t talk like them, don’t believe what they believe and don’t masquerade in the life of self-indulgent pride, knitted into the work and deeds of the unclean lips and filthy hands of the flesh – only ONE right hand is lifted in righteousness and that’s GOD’S hand.  But who can stop “doing” long enough to start “being” a surrendered vessel to the hand of the Lord.  Unlearned from the ways of the world.  emptied out of the rules and beliefs of mankind… worshiping the creator, not the creation and fearing what the LORD thinks, not what people think….

I would like to visit the fatherless and the widows in their afflictions today… I’d like to because I know that those encounters are the ones with Jesus.  I know that if I want to see unity in Christ on this day, it will come from a vessel of affliction.  That’s the words of Christ not me –  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.” 

The Lord made it clear which vessels he dwells inside of and is made one with – the eyes that are a looking-glass for HIS spirit to see through.  But he also made it clear that we wouldn’t know or recognize when HE is working through us.  These spoken of in the text of Mathew 25 are confused…  They’re like, “What do you mean Jesus?  When did we do any of that stuff?”  They’re confused because it wasn’t them that was DOING anything at all… It was GOD in them – operating through a surrendered vessel – HIS hand moving, not the carnal mind deciding “here’s what I’ll do for God today” – that’s a whole other subject, how the carnal mind seeks to put God in its debt…. like he OWES us something because of our works.

Anyway…

Lord I surrender today, knowing that I can’t do anything to earn you or to achieve salvation from you.  You already did it and I need your help to accept that in truth and in faith.  I need your Spirit to guide me and silence me so that I can hear your voice through the corrupted noise that is called my thoughts.  I need your eyes to see that even the most unlikely vessels on the outside can and likely to my misunderstanding DO harness the power of your spirit.  I need your ears to hear what your spirit is saying, louder and more clearer than what the counterfeit voices in this world are saying.  Father pull me from the muddy sand that’s weighted under the burdens of the sea and place me on the seashore – at the surface where Jesus writes.  Help me to silence my desires and my will and to give HIM the pen so that he may use this temporary moment in which I live in to the Glory of your name, nailing my life to the cross with his own, null and void and passed away, but seated in the blessed hope of the life everlasting that is reserved for those who live in you and you in them.  Father will you bring us all there?  Lord will you have mercy on us, wake us up Father, please…. Shake us and wake us up to the pride that we are waring against and the selfishness that rules over our hearts condemning the likeness of what we are in our brothers and sisters and we can’t even see the gigantic beam of wood in our own eyes as we’re inspecting others trying to find the specks in their eyes.  Help us to see our fate Lord, as the criminal on the cross was made to see, the condemnation that we are all sentenced to and the absoluteness in the death that is reserved for the flesh and all those who live by the flesh and glory in the flesh and trust in the flesh and it’s ridiculous pursuit for salvation by its own means.  Help us Lord to surrender today more.  Help us to empty ourselves more, to be convicted and disgusted by the vileness of our own wills and to seek your perfect will.  I can’t even see it Lord.  Can you show it to me today?  Can you move my heart with compassion towards others in your love not this fake love that the enemy infects our hearts with.. YOUR TRUE LOVE….  Let me not be a hypocrite Jesus… Please don’t let me be led into a temptation that would cause me to think anything of myself above another.  Thank you for your long-suffering.  Thank you for your grace and mercy, that we so desperately need right now.

 

 

Can you imagine a man showing up at your doorstep barefoot and filthy, carrying nothing with him.  A man who doesn’t even have a spare set of clothes, he has no money, no food, no blankets, no toiletries.  He’s covered in dirt from sleeping on the ground and the soles of his feet are stained black inside of deep cuts from the graveled journey he had been traveling barefoot.  And he asks you…  Can I come in?  Will you receive me?

Jesus sent 72 disciples out before him to prepare the way in the places where he had planned to visit.  He gave them specific instructions, which included stripping them of every possession, including their shoes.  They weren’t to carry money or a napsack… they could take NOTHING with them.  And this journey must not have been intended to go so well, considering Jesus warned them, saying to them, “I’m sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” I assume those who received these empty handed, homeless men on foot were far and few between.  And I try to put myself in that position, envisioning what these men must have looked like and asking myself what I would do if they showed up here at my doorstep.

I’ve also thought that people who carry the word of the Lord are the ones who wear the blessings of the Lord on the outside.  I thought that the power within a church is illustrated by its popularity, its success, the size of the building and the number of people who attend on Sundays.  Thinking to myself, “If so many other people like this place, and follow its teachings then it must be the real deal.”

But Jesus illustrated something very different here.  His disciples didn’t have big congregations (they went out in 2’s) and they had nothing to offer – literally had nothing with them – nothing to show on the outside that would cause anyone to think they possessed something of value.  They didn’t even have food to feed themselves, much less state-of-the-art sound systems, smoke lights and projector screens.  I don’t even think the image of our modern homeless men and women would do this visual justice.  They had nothing….. not even socks.  I can only imagine how horrible their feet must have looked and there they stand.. on our doorstep.. asking to come inside.

The awesome thing about those filthy feet is that Jesus washed them.  The hands of God in the flesh cleaned the dirt off of his servant’s feet before he went to the cross.  How precious is that? We’ll save that for a later discussion.

After Jesus died on the cross, rose again and then finally ascended to the Father so that the Holy Spirit could come into His apostles and commission them, we learn about the journeys of these appointed men who carried the word of the Lord and preached the Gospel of Christ.  Their stories are extraordinary and their faith demonstrated in ways I can’t even comprehend.

They went against the world, without fear or worry for their own lives. They taught people the words of the Lord – his instructions to pick up a cross and follow him, to not love this world and to not care about our own lives. 1 John 2:15 says “–Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. (1 John 2:15)“. They spoke of Love, Hope, Peace, Joy and Faith, but not in the body – in the spirit.  Their bodies were quite troubled and their journey full of horrific trials.

Paul said, “I only know that in town after town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions await me. Can you imagine God telling you these warnings everywhere you go… saying, “Hey Paul, it’s about to get really bad.  You’re about to be beaten and chained and tormented.”  Yet he still went.  Why did Paul go?  He continues in that passage saying, 24But I consider my life of no value to myself, if only I may finish my course and complete the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus— the ministry of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

He was enduring great trials and he didn’t care about his own life.  In his letter to the church of Corinth, he said that he had faced more than he could endure in Asia, so much so, that they despaired life itself.

He certainly wasn’t a rich man or a successful man either by means of the physical things here.  He talks also in that letter about having unmet needs, yet asking for nothing from them.  He didn’t speak of a family here, he had no home, he was a prisoner multiple times, he was shipwrecked twice, he was beaten repeatedly, bitten by a deadly snake and the list goes on and on.  If I knew this man Paul today… I mean really, if we were watching his life unfold in our town during our generation right now, we would probably be calling this poor man cursed.  We’d probably assume he was nowhere near the grace or the favor of God because his life on the outside was a wreck.  And people did look at him that way.  Paul clarified this in the book of Hebrews when he talked about how fearful it is to fall into the hands of the Lord.  And that after we are illuminated by God, we must endure great afflictions and we are made a gazingstock.  The message bible commentaries translates gazingstock saying,  It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well-thought-of by others, but we’re mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don’t have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can make a living. When they call us names, we say, “God bless you.” When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We’re treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture’s kitchen. And it’s not getting any better.

Gazingstock… this is how Paul described the ones who are walking in the light of Christ and he says that’s how the world will view those carrying the spirit of the Lord.  It’s interesting… Jesus basically said the same thing, except in a more harsh way.  Jesus said to his beloved disciples, “You will be hated by everyone for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  He also said in the book of John, in his last speech to his disciples, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

What is it like to be hated by the world as Jesus described?  And if the world hates those who belong to Jesus, then what is considered God’s grace and blessings?  Looking at Paul again.  This is a man that had the power of the Holy Spirit within Him – He casted out demons and healed the sick (just like Jesus did).  But his life was a disaster on the outside and he didn’t care. He said he didn’t care repeatedly.  He even said it was a blessing for him to suffer like Christ.  and he did suffer greatly.  Paul said his heart was full of sorrow and he had unceasing anguish, (Romans 9:2)… Can you imagine anguish that never gives you a break?  It’s just there heavy on your chest all day and all night, week after week and month after month, year after year…  But Paul describes this deep anguish was not for himself, it was for the loss of life of others (eternally… his brothers and sisters that would perish).  He saw something I don’t and he lived quite clearly the opposite of what is demonstrated in our world today.  Just like the disciples who went before the Lord… just like the Lord himself and just like the apostles who followed Christ.

Maybe things have just changed…. Maybe the world has changed and maybe the burden of the Lord looks different today then it did 2,000 years ago.  But why would it?  It’s still the same world that the Lord said NOT to love… not to conform to… and is it really so different?  In Paul’s letter in Corinthians he tells the people, “although you have 10000 instructors in Christ, you don’t have any fathers.  But I have begotten you in Christ.. Follow me.”  That church of Corinth had 10000 instructors in Christ?  Sounds like our towns today.  So many leaders speaking the name Christ and teaching on the things of Christ.  But, where are the Pauls and Peters and Johns and Timothy’s and James and Stephens.  Where are the disciples that carry nothing but harness the power of the word of the God inside of them.

Where are those that despise their own lives, deny themselves yet carry deep, unceasing anguish for the everlasting destination of their brothers and sisters.  Where are the gazingstocks and if they are here… would we even let them in our homes?… .

Father you know my heart and you know the answers to all of this I ponder.  Please have mercy on us…. Who can even understand these things Lord?

 

Is it ok to laugh Lord at the vileness of our intention

Is it ok to cry when the dust settles where your wind sends it

Is it ok to desire the slope after the crest of a wave

In normalcy i thank you for the short sobering breaks

And when i tremble at the burden of the heart that looks upon us broken

Is it ok that I weary in the heaviness of your words spoken

Will you forgive me for the resistance that i war with inside

Will you give me the strength to combat all these lies

And when this dust settles and the sandcastles are destroyed

Is it ok then, or will i regret all that’s void

Teach me to number the days of this walk

Teach me to fight for the jewels of your flock

Leave me no regrets as this vapor now scatters

Help me to find life beyond the deception of matter

Is it ok that i can’t shake the fear of this ending

Is ok that i long for the unseen beginning

Guard my heart in all things that are true

Cast away the heaviness of this world that’s not you

Bring me to the gates where the counsel awaits

But let me not go until you have sealed our faith

God is talking to me about LOVE this morning.  Yesterday Job was placed on my heart – and not the story that I’ve heard and know but a specific task in thinking over the story of Job… “Look at the process”…

When God asked Satan “Have you considered Job?”  Satan responded by complaining to God about his lack of ability to touch Job.  Satan said to God, “”Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”  Then Satan said something major here.  He told God “if you reach out YOUR HAND and touch everything he has, then he will curse you.”  Satan didn’t say, “If you let ME at him.”…. He said “If YOUR HAND comes against Him.”  In response… “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD…. and we know what happened next… Literally everything Job had was taken from him and destroyed – his riches, his servants, his family and even his health.  But there’s something BIG in this text.  Satan has NO power against anything on his own.  He complained to God that he can’t touch what God has protected, but even bigger is that satan reveals here that ONLY GOD can make the decision of what he chooses to protect and what he chooses to strike down.  How did God accomplish this?  He gave the authority (the OK) to Satan to go after Job’s stuff.  I’ve heard many preachers say things like “God is not in control” or “God didn’t want that to happen”…  Like there’s a war going on between God and Satan and Satan happened to get one over on God when a terrible thing occurs to someone or in someone’s life.  And this text just really exposes the truth behind our Almighty God and the endless sovereignty that HE and only HE holds over all of creation.

So why did God allow Job to go through all this?  Why would a loving God reach out HIS HAND and allow Satan the authority to destroy his life?  I really thought about the process a lot yesterday of Job’s story and what I saw was something amazing in that when Job got to a place of rock bottom, he cursed himself – he cursed his existence – he cursed the day that he was born.  It may not be perceived as “cursing God” but in a sense he was cursing God’s authority and decision to make him – to bring him into existence.  I’ve been there.  asking, “why did you even make me if my purpose is to suffer?”  It’s a painful text and a very deep, emotional text as Job questions what he is, why he’s here and confesses hatred towards his own being.  When that happened, we see God come against Job.  I don’t know the full meaning of what that must have looked like – I mean, Job had already lost everything that mattered to him.  However, in this text, God is really putting Job in his place.  But something peculiar happens after this… Job says that he had heard the Lord, but NOW HE SEES and he repented to the Lord.  Prior to anything changing for Job, his friends who had betrayed him came to him and Job prayed for them.  It’s amazing really, in his pain and hopelessness – in this horrible situation Job was living in – he delivers a heartfelt request to the Lord, not for himself but for his friends.  And the text says , “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

Unselfishness….  taking our eyes off of ourselves even in the midst of horrible times… there’s something to this.

Unselfishness was also shown in the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  When the rich man was taken to hell, he begged Abraham to give him a drink and to save him for the fiery torture he was in.  After he was told that he can’t cross over from that place, he begged for Lazarus (one sent from the dead) to go warn his family and his five brothers.  But Abraham said, “if they wont listen to moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

And someone did… Jesus Christ.

Lazarus was a poor beggar..  Job was brought from riches and happiness to pain and emptiness.  What is God’s love?

Hebrews 12: 6-7…. 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?