Living Light

Stirring The Deep


Do We Have Free Will?

Do We Have Free Will?


Lately, free will has been brought up in several conversations carrying the assumption that we have free will and it got me to thinking . . . how much free will do we really have?

Let’s look at what we didn’t choose in our physical life; to be born, where, when and to whom we were born, where we grew up, who we grew up around, our family, our genetic make up, our IQ, our body type, our race, our gender, our personality, generational weaknesses and strengths.

Given all these restrictions, how much free will do you think we have? Our will is constricted to certain things, whether we like it or not.

Those things pertain to our physical life, what about the spiritual life?

I believe it is very similar, because throughout the Word, this earth, our lives, the physical parallels the spiritual. First, I believe we don’t chose salvation. We didn’t choose our physical birth and we didn’t choose our spiritual birth. How can a dead life choose life? It is dead. It can’t comprehend the things of God. It can’t understand the spirit life to choose the spirit. It is in rebellion against God, not wanting to draw near. Isaiah 53:6

God saves, God calls, God chooses. We don’t think that is fair? What about the ones who didn’t have a choice where they were born and were given horrible circumstances, in slums, in drug addictions, in a place where human life isn’t valued, and no love? Is that fair? How much choice did they have?

Romans 9:11-23, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, Matthew 22:14, 1 Peter 2:9

Second, like our physical life, we live within defined limits in our spiritual life. God saves us and gives us new life. He determines the grace we have, the spiritual gifts we possess, and our spiritual growth. Romans 12:3 1 Corinthians 12:11 Ephesians 2:10 Philippians 2:13 Our will comes into play in seeking Him, drawing near and abiding in His truth. Matthew 7:33, Hebrews 11:6 If we seek Him, then He has promised to do all sorts of wonderful, powerful and amazing things in our lives. Our will, what we say happens or doesn’t happen and the choices we have, is limited.

Acts 17:26-28 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

There are two faulty beliefs that cause us to think that God being in control of our salvation isn’t fair and therefore couldn’t be.

1. The beliefs about hell.
2. The beliefs about God’s complete plan of salvation.

I don’t profess to completely understand either though I am seeking, but from what I read I am not convinced of an eternal torment as most churches teach or that we fully understand God’s plan of salvation and the roles we each play. Romans 9:22 We don’t know His thoughts, and I believe there is more to this life than we know. God is not like us, He is much bigger and we tend to forget that truth. We each try to fit Him and His ways into what we can understand right now.

To try to make God’s Word fit our ideas of justice and fairness is not seeking The Truth but trying to establish our own. We need to be okay with what we read, keep questioning, asking, learning, admitting we don’t know, and acknowledging there is more to learn. The entire Word fits together like a puzzle if certain pieces don’t fit we don’t have all the pieces yet. Only with all the pieces can we understand His Truth. We need to remove our church filters telling us what to believe and read His Truth to know and not to convince ourselves of what we currently believe. Only then do we have teachable hearts. God doesn’t want us to assume we know all or throw up our hands and say how can we know? He wants us each one of us to seek, grope, and ask for truth because that creates intimacy with Him.

Our will only comes into play in certain things. God holds the reigns. After all, He is God we are men. Psalm 9:20 We need to stop trying to make His truth fit ours and seek His.


The Power of Confession

 The Power of Confession


A while ago, my mom and I had a heart to heart discussing some of our deepest wounds. It wasn’t meant to be a confession, though that is exactly what it was. We were simply being honest and open about issues we face and how they impacted each other and sometimes still do.

Recently, my husband and I had a similar conversation. Again, it wasn’t meant to be a confession, we were just being transparent about pains and weaknesses and how they affect each other. Like the conversation with my mom, our talk was liberating on many levels. We had confessed our shortcomings to God many times, and told each other sorry for things we had done, but when we exposed the depths of our souls and our own pain that caused pain in each other; it took healing to a new level and brought us closer. Through our words, love abounded and pain receded.

The freedom and restoration I experienced from these two encounters got me thinking about the power of confession. Both conversations encompassed deep wounds and I am discovering the deeper the pain the more restorative the confession. Usually we are scratching the surface when we tell someone we are sorry, but when we pour out our souls to another in love it is truly powerful.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

When and why is confession between two people so powerful that it heals years of pain? When it is grounded and flows from love. As for the why, there are many reasons it is powerful, but here are three.

1. Vulnerability in confession communicates the extent of our love for someone. A heart of confession is open, honest, contrite, humble, and doesn’t care just about itself but also others. When we are willing to be naked, vulnerable, weak and to set our pride aside it reveals our love for the other person. If we didn’t love them we wouldn’t be willing to be so open and exposed. Our willingness to unveil our souls is powerful because it infuses truth and love into the relationship

2. Words have power. Created in God’s image our words have tremendous power. They can heal or damage. Openly stating that we have caused hurt, though often unintentionally, frees and heals the hearer. Confessions are words of love, which are more potent than words of pain.

3. Truth manifests love. The more we see and know about ourselves and others in the light of God’s truth, the more we can truly love. Knowledge brings understanding which fosters love, which sets us free.

We are made to love and for that reason most of what we do involves others including our healing and theirs. Philippians 2:4 Confession is just as much about the other person as it is about us. God may know, we may know but they don’t know our heart until we speak it. When we put our pride aside, acknowledge the pain we feel and caused we love. The reward is two-fold; we are more fully freed and healed from our brokenness and so are they. Even if others aren’t ready to confess their part in creating pain, the love we show will help heal their brokenness and put them on a path of being able to face their own pain and the pain they caused.

Confession doesn’t promise something similar won’t happen again. It expresses our hearts that we don’t desire to hurt. We are human and putting off our old self and living in the new life is a process. Letting others see into our hearts to know that we desire to give love not pain covers a multitude of sins.


Space Suit: In God’s Presence

Space Suit: In God’s Presence


Have you ever had the feeling of being consumed by the presence of God? A while ago I got a strange but clarifying image that it is like being in a space suit. In a suit your life is preserved, protected, you see the world a little differently, and it goes wherever you do. Wearing it changes how you interact with your environment. If provides oxygen, the breath of life. If you take it off you lose life.

Before this unusual analogy, God’s presence seemed ethereal and hard to touch. But this image helped me to grasp how real it is and it established the solidarity of His presence in my life. It seemed a strange image but it worked. It helped me to see what it means to dwell in God’s presence, and what it means for our lives. In His presence we have protection, provision, love, mercy, grace, counsel, comfort, truth, favor, and life, everything we need. All He is surrounds us and fills us. When God consumes us, our role becomes one of rest. He does the work through us and our focus shifts from doing to being. We don’t push through life, but let God flow and work through us.

These verses give a peek into what it is like to dwell in His presence, in this space suit:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Abiding in His presence is beyond amazing, wouldn’t you agree? Who wouldn’t want this life?

How do we put on this space suit and keep it on? By staying connected to the source. We stay connected by trusting and acting on our knowledge of Him, which is faith.

It all starts with what we know. We bring all that we are to our relationships. Now, a friend may not know a certain side of us, but that is just a lack of knowledge. It is the same with God. He is always there, but our experience of the various aspects of Him comes from knowing Him. This is why abiding in His Word is the foundation of experiencing His presence.

If we don’t know God, His promises and His ways then how do we know what to trust in? Without knowledge we end up trusting in our own image of Him, a false image, that is powerless, or we trust in ourselves that is just as helpless.

Abiding in the truth not only gives us knowledge but cultivates trust in that knowledge. Trust, acting on our knowledge, is how we dwell in the space suit.

How many times do we read in the Word, trust and such and such will happen? Trust manifests His presence in our lives. It makes what we learn about Him a reality. Without trust the knowledge we have would be lifeless.

We come to know and trust God like other relationships. We spend time talking, listening, learning, asking, seeking and experiencing and in the process we know and trust, trust and know. God made this dynamic to be a process that requires time and experiences that give us a deep understanding of Him, therefore His truth always coincides with mercy for His kids.

As we approach the next phase of manifesting His presence in our lives, increasing trust, it is critical to embrace this truth – ALL His paths are truth and mercy. Psalm 25:10 We are on the path of knowing and trusting we aren’t there yet. Our experience of Him isn’t dependent only on our trust, but also on His mercy. We know that we should trust, but we don’t. But as long as we are seeking Him, His mercy is more than enough to cover our lack.

Finally, to increase our trust, God brings events into our lives to test and strengthen it. God knows trusting Him is a struggle that is why He places challenges before us, to push us into deeper union with Him, otherwise we would remain at the surface of His presence instead of consumed by every part of it. If we remain as we are we miss out on experiencing all He has to give us. The purpose of these struggles is to become united to Him. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Consequently, these are the situations in which it is hardest to trust. We are experiencing the sovereign hand of God heavy upon us. Not against us though that is how it may feel, but to draw us near. Like Jacob did to become Israel, we wrestle with God through these times to become who we were created to be. These times push us into Him. We cry out to Him from the depth of our soul, ask Him to help with our unbelief and through the process we draw near to Him, our ultimate purpose. John 17:21 He expects us to doubt, struggle, and question through these times. But He wants us to keep Him by our side throughout the process. We are the caterpillar struggling to become a butterfly.

These trials are difficult to the point of breaking us, but their intensity is essential to obtain the trust we need to experience more of Him. We have to set our expectations aside of how we think things should be going, focus on abiding in His truth and trust Him that He is working everything for the purpose of being united to Him. He will give us exactly what we need to get us into a conscious awareness of that space suit, because that gives Him glory.

The secret to abiding in His presence, in the space suit, is knowing Him, so we can trust Him, then working through those tests of trust and when we do we will move deeper into His presence, the fountain of life.


Babylon the Great – The Church System

Babylon the Great – The Church System


Could it be? Is it possible that the church, the institutional system, is an aspect of Babylon the Great spoken of in Revelations? This idea is a hard truth to swallow, but our spirits live on truth because it establishes our beliefs and thus our faith. Galatians 3:11 Faith isn’t worth much if it is in the wrong truth, therefore our duty is to seek out the truth.

1. Babylon the Great is the Mother of Harlots


Babylon symbolizes a woman who played the harlot against God. The only ones who can play the harlot are those who profess to be united to God in the first place. You can’t cheat if you aren’t in a relationship.

Throughout the Word, God calls His people a harlot when they break their covenant with Him; they have left Him in their heats to follow other gods, other gospels, other Jesus’, other truths, while still carrying His name. He abolished the old covenant and established a new. Because Revelations talks about a time in the future, then the harlotry must be in regards to the new covenant, the only active one that means anything.

2. This woman is also referred to as the great city.

The great city is Jerusalem. Jerusalem symbolizes where God’s people reside. Matt 23:37

Revelation 17:18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.

Revelation 11:8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

We begin to see that this woman is headed toward a downfall so much so that she will become like Egypt and Sodom and God will deal with her as He dealt with them.

3. The woman is drunk with the blood of the saints.

Revelation 17:6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

Those who drink the blood of the saints are of the church.

We have this example in the Pharisees. They called themselves children of Abraham; Jesus called them children of the devil. Talk about a mistaken identity. What happened with people in the church in Jesus’ day is happening today. The church started out in accordance to God’s ways, but then went its own way. Even to murdering the prophets, sound familiar? Matthew 23:31, 35, 37 John 8: 44 We can kill someone physically, but another way to kill them is the truth they stood for. We kill it by twisting it and not heeding it making it void and meaningless.

John marveled with great amazement, this truth is indeed shocking.

4. Babylon the Great has become a dwelling place of every foul thing.

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird.

The great city, the woman, played the harlot and turned symbolically into Babylon. Her downfall is so severe that she becomes a dwelling place of demons, where no good thing dwells.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

Babylon can’t be the world. The world has always been full of demons and lies because it is under the devil’s control. Only God’s people are separated out. So the world couldn’t become a dwelling place, it already is one. Therefore what has become inhabited is somewhere that wasn’t before – where God’s people dwell, church system. Furthermore, He is telling us to come out of something. We can come out of the church system.

Church system (institution of God’s people) = Jerusalem = the great city = Harlot = Babylon the Great

Now what?

Because of what the church system becomes God is going to destroy it. He warns His people who can still hear His voice to get out while they can. If you look at the church, it isn’t headed in a good direction. There is a disconnect between the Word and what we see in the churches. We like to rationalize and justify the downward spiral of the church, but the Word foretells its future and the Word stands forever.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues

It has grown so corrupt with deception and lies that even the elect are going to have trouble standing firm on the truth. Matthew 24:24 Think about how deceptive that must be? Churches are incredibly persuasive. Religious leaders have a power over people because people trust them. Just ask the lobbyists. They led the masses to crucify Jesus who days before they were praising. They led the people of Lystra who were worshiping Paul and Silas to turn to stone them leaving them for dead. Acts 14 Never underestimate the persuasion they have. God knows their influence and who is behind them that is why He tells us to get out. It isn’t safe. We have to trust Him, putting aside our justifications.

Psalm 74:3-4 Lift up Your feet to the perpetual desolations. The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your enemies roar in the midst of Your meeting place; They set up their banners for signs.

Right before this verse the writer talks about Mount Zion which is a name to describe God’s people in the future. Hebrews 12:22-23. The sanctuary, the meeting place of God’s people is going to suffer perpetual desolation. A New Jerusalem will take its place. Revelation 21:2 It seems that time is upon us. He wants His people out of the old so they don’t receive her plagues

You may think now is not the time, but when? Who will you listen to tell you to get out? If you don’t and decide to stay a little longer, I pray your teacher is God and you can clearly hear His voice above all the others. Deception and lies are only going to continue to grow worse. 2 Timothy 3:13. Many are going to go astray. Things aren’t going to get better. If we think we or our church is above deception then we are most deceived. The church served a purpose for a time, but like most man-made institutions it has gone sideways. Ezekiel 8

Where do we go? To Him, to His Word. He will be our Shepherd, He will write His truths on our heart, He will teach us, guide us, and protect us. He has given us all we need, His Word, Himself, and when you get there you will find others.

People are leaving the church because they feel something is amiss. Could it be that they have heard His call in their hearts? Those that know their Shepherd’s voice will follow Him.

There is much to say on this topic but I pray this encourages you to search out His truth from His pure Word.