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Unity of LOVE – Why Jesus?

Unity of LOVE – Why Jesus?

There are many who don’t believe in Jesus but believe in a universal force, a “god”, that is love and that love is fundamental in our lives and we should be connecting with it. But as you will see if you believe in love, there is a need for Jesus Christ. For you can’t abide in true love without Him.

Our Creator is a God of love and desires to be in a bond of love with us – that is why we were created. It’s our eternal purpose that will never change. With each one of us, as we are united to Him His love expands. Love entails unity and oneness. It also requires truth and honesty because love doesn’t exist without these; otherwise the relationship is a product of the imagination.

What is Needed for a Unity of Love

Our Creator designed relationships to teach us how to relate to Him. In any relationship, there are certain characteristics that are required for there to be unity and oneness. When those characteristics are present the relationship flourishes, and all parties benefit. Fundamentally, there needs to be truth, trust, and love, and each one needs to be and live as they were created. In a relationship with God, we are to be united to Him in truth and REAL love (not our warped interpretations that are really contrary to love). Further, we have to let God be God in our relationship and all that entails. If we don’t honor or try to do His role the relationship breaks down. It’s like a man trying to be the woman in a relationship it doesn’t work. He was created a man and that is all he can be.

What is Broken

When God isn’t OUR God and we aren’t abiding in truth and love, then we are severed from Him. A lack these characteristics is a sign of a broken relationship. All of us have acted exceedingly contrary on these points; therefore all of us have been severed from God. As in a relationship between a man and woman, we have been unfaithful or “cheated” on God because we’ve not been faithful in these areas. Therefore, everyone needs reconciling.

The Way Back to Love

The only way to be reconciled is if the one “cheated” on offers forgiveness, meaning they humble themselves and lay down their hurt, pain and a part of themselves (the respect, loyalty, honor, and love they deserved) for the cheater. If that happens then reconciliation is initiated.

God initiates this act of reconciliation for us. He humbles Himself and lays down His life (perfect love as He is perfect) and forgives us so that we may be reconciled to Him. To abide in unity thus love there has to be forgiveness.

God shows us the act of reconciliation that is occurring on a spiritual level in the physical life of Jesus Christ. God came to earth taking on the human form, far different from His own, to show us that He laid down His life and forgave us of all our rebellion that we might be reconciled to Him. It is difficult for us to fully understand what this act meant – for a perfect being to lay down a life for a being far less perfect, broken, and undeserving – because when we forgive others we are very similar to them in our wretchedness. But with God it was perfection laying down His life for corruption – a MUCH bigger cost and a MUCH greater love. And with a perfect holy God forgiveness can’t be based on works (how good we act) because no one could live up to the perfection required. It has to be all Him, all grace, to achieve complete unity. The way of Jesus Christ was the only way without works and is the only way to complete unity.

Imagine, it you were the god of the ants, who you loved very much and their purpose was to abide in love with you. Imagine they went their own way doing their own thing and weren’t abiding in the bond of love, but were doing the opposite in destroying themselves and each other with their rebellion. You could kill them and start over. Or, in the ultimate act of love you could humble yourself and go to them as one of them. You could tell them and show them what you did because you love them. You could even go a bit farther by giving them part of your divine spirit to dwell within them to lead and guide them in the ways of truth and love. Now in that new awareness and oneness they would understand how they went their own way and rebelled against you, and reenter into a bond of love with you. In a similar way, this is what God did for us. Jesus Christ, God taking on human form, came to lay down His life, so that we could be reconciled back to Him in truth and love.

What is Our Part

Now, ONLY if the cheater recognizes what is happening 1. he cheated or rebelled 2. he needs forgiveness 3. he accepts that act of forgiveness of the one cheated and 4. he begins to act in a way that fosters unity can the reconciliation take place. Otherwise the separation remains. When we accept Jesus Christ, we are acknowledging that we have rebelled, reconciliation is needed, God is giving us forgiveness, we accept it, and we seek to be rightly related to Him in every way. Otherwise, we don’t understand our rebellion or that only God could reconcile us. We can’t do the reconciling because He has to lay down his life in the act of forgiveness.

If we don’t understand and accept these points there is no reconciliation. Just as if you are in a relationship and someone cheats on you and they don’t understand what they did and you don’t truly forgive – then there is no true unity and love is blocked. Further, when we reunite ourselves back to another we fully understand our error, and with all our hearts desire to be in a relationship upholding the characteristics that foster unity. And with God that means we abide in truth and love, and He is OUR God. We can’t truly have this understanding of what He did and what it meant and God not be LORD of our life. If He isn’t LORD or moving into that place in our lives, it’s similar to your spouse forgaving you for cheating, but you continue to cheat. You aren’t really reconciled.

It’s the ultimate act of love to lay down your life for someone – especially for someone who didn’t earn or deserve it. God laid it down for us though we didn’t deserve it because of His love. His act of reconciliation was so extensive and complete that every thought and act of rebellion is completely forgiven – so He keeps no record of wrongs. In other words, we are pure in His eyes. Do you know of any other relationship where someone is wiling to do that? I don’t. Because God’s love is so much greater than any other we know.

When we are reconciled back to God then we can truly experience all of Him and be united to Him in every way. Then, we can know REAL love. When you realize what God has done for us – His love overwhelms you. In this act, we didn’t do anything – He did it all. We only acknowledge what He did for us to be reconnected to Him in the relationship of true love and faithfulness – a relationship we were always meant to be in. That act is real love expressed to the fullest. And if we are truly reconciled, our lives will show it, and it has nothing to do with “religion” but a relationship.

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Victory Begins in the Mind

Victory Begins in the Mind

 

Where we are most spiritually compromised is in our minds. Believing lies destroys us. Like, the one who believes she deserves to be beat up emotionally, the one who believes God doesn’t care, the one who believes his life doesn’t matter, the one who believes in false doctrine, the one who believes her ability to control defines her, the one who believes work and success define him and the list goes on. Once we believe the deception, then WE are the ones to create the destruction in our lives. When you break it all down to where the battle really is – it’s in our minds, thus that’s where the path to victory begins.

Among our thoughts, it’s very difficult to fight the battle between truth and lies, because our thoughts are very close to us. They feel like us, and most of the time we don’t question if they are true or not we assume they are. But often they aren’t. Consider your thoughts throughout the day – do you think most come from the truth or lies?

This past weekend, there were several instances that I had to fight lies in my head. It is VERY difficult, because to us our minds are believable and when backed by emotion (pain, hurt, pride, need for acceptance, value, etc) they become even more convincing about what is true. Sometimes isn’t an easy battle. First we need to realize our thoughts are only ours if we own them – this understanding allows us to question them. For example, I can have the thought that I’m useless, triggered by someone’s comment and reinforced by a past of neglect, but unless I own it, it will pass. But if I hold onto it and support it with other thoughts and emotions, then I will start acting on that false belief. Once we are able to question them, then we can go to the next step, recognizing lies and fighting against them. BUT the only way we are able to recognize AND fight against them and the destruction they bring is with the Truth.

When we know and trust the Truth, lies have no impact. When one comes flying into our mind, we discard it and instead chose the wisdom from above that brings freedom, joy, peace, and love. James 3:15-17 But we can only chose what we know. And that is why a lack of LOVE for the truth is the downfall for many. They are living in deception that steals life and have no idea because they don’t have the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 The impact of our thoughts is why it is our work to believe the truth. John 6:28-29 Yet, we see many not really considering their beliefs but simply on acting on them whatever they may be.

Look at the lie Eve believed. Genesis 3:4-6 Look at the ramifications of acting on it. By falling for it, fallenness and hardship manifested in her life as well as those around her that was never suppose to be. On the other hand, look at Jesus battling the lies thrown at Him in the wilderness. Luke 4 Jesus didn’t fall for them because He deeply knew and trusted the Truth – – and that is the secret of not giving into lies, knowledge and trust in the Truth. We have been given what we need to stand strong, the Truth. When light (truth) comes immediately darkness (deception) flees.

The Bible says the whole world is under the sway of the wicked one 1 John 5:19. The “wicked one” represents the ultimate in pride, selfishness, lies, deception, and a seeking self-will not God’s will. Most people are living by lies not truth, and when we look around we see this is the case by all the destructive behavior that is in the world. Bound by deception, we create afflictions, troubles, hardships, pain, and destruction in our lives and the lives of others. Often we can see the false beliefs in someone else’s life because we are on the outside. But with ourselves, because of the nature of our mind and we are in our mind, it is much more difficult. The nature of deception is that you don’t know it isn’t true until you know the truth.

Not only do false truths create destruction in our lives, but on the flip side they rob us of the promises of God. There are MANY promises to those who TRUST in God. When we know and trust in those promises that truth becomes a powerful force. But if we don’t know those promises and don’t believe they are true and for us then they are stunted. Now God is merciful, so even in our lack of faith He often pours His blessings into our lives. But there is a clear correlation in the Bible between our trust in His Truth and the presence of His promises in our lives.

Knowing His promises is the starting place and it is a process. By abiding in His Word, His truth consumes our thoughts, and our beliefs are crafted on what is true. Only then can we act on them in our lives. Second, trust isn’t just something we decide to do one day; it comes from spending time cultivating a real relationship with God based on truth, which means spending time in His Word on a regular basis with a heart to know God as Lord in our lives. If we doubt God’s promises are for us, we are believing a lie being thrown our way. Don’t believe it. Abide in God’s Word and seek to believe on Him. Ephesians 1:3, Psalm 84:11, Psalm 31:19

When God’s Truth is ours then we are able to stand against the lies thrown at us on a daily basis coming from all directions; lies that derail His promises. In Ephesians 6, all the armor of God that the Apostle Paul instructs us to have either comes from the Word of God or is the Word because the Word provides a foundation of truth from which we can counter the deception we face. Without an outside source of truth to ground our beliefs in we have nothing to fight the vast number of lies that surround us. God gave us His truth to give us light to dispel the darkness of deception.

• “girded your waist with truth” – His Word is truth
• “breastplate of righteousness” – understand our righteousness is from Christ, who is The Word
• “shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” – gospel of peace, is the gospel of reconciliation which is the Word
• “taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” – faith comes from hearing the Word
• “take the helmet of salvation” – understanding of our salvation is gained from the Word.
• “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” – obvious

Victory begins in our minds. How are you going to gain it? What are you going to do to prepare yourself to be victorious? Most of us our battling the wrong thing, we are focused on the outside when we need to focus on what is happening in our minds. The epistle of our lives starts in our thoughts. To be victorious in our lives in every area, we need to know and trust the TRUTH.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

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The Spirit Language: “Tongues”

The Spirit Language: “Tongues”

Recently I’ve been reading several articles/posts on the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. And not long ago I was at a retreat and the discussion of tongues kept coming up. Crazy so much fuss over a little gift. But, this is a very important topic for people to understand because it can and is leading many astray. Here are some of my thoughts.

Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift. When spoken in private, it edifies the speaker. 1 Corin 14:2 When spoken in public, it’s a sign to unbelievers because upon hearing it they would understand their own language like those in Acts 2. 1 Corin 14:22 This gift was necessary particularly in the days of Apostle Paul as the gospel was going out to all people, not just the Jews. Knowledge of different languages was required to communicate the message of truth.

This gift is something given and directed by the Holy Spirit. It isn’t at our will, but His. (very important point) 1 Corinthians 12:10-11 As the other gifts, it is to be used purposefully. AND, like the other gifts it takes GREAT DISCERNMENT to know if it truly is of the Holy Spirit or a spirit of deception. And with tongues, it takes even GREATER discernment, because if someone speaks a language unknown to those around him, who is to say he isn’t truly speaking in tongues? This is one reason I believe Paul said to have an interpreter; so there wouldn’t be any confusion. With the other gifts it’s easier to discern what is true and what isn’t from the outside. Because of this difference with tongues, it can be used very easily to manipulate and mislead and I think this happens a lot. It leads many astray to believing they are in God’s will when they aren’t. And as proof that someone is in the spirit, when in fact it may be another spirit altogether and not a good one. It’s a serious problem.

It leads people astray not only because of it’s nature, but also because it seems “mystical”. But it only appears mystical because of the improper use and mimicking of the true gift. When sharing the gospel to another nation and being able to share in their language isn’t so mystical and I think this was its main purpose and demonstrated in Acts 2. This misuse is why there is so much discussion and division about this gift and not the other gifts. When it is abused, then the Spirit in true believers reacts.

Manipulation and Deception with Signs and Wonders

I want to meantion two types of misuse of this gift we need to be able to discern. The first is when it isn’t of the Holy Spirit, but of our imagination. Many people LOVE signs and wonders and when acts like speaking in tongues (as it is improperly done today) occur people get hyped and discernment often flies out the window. That is incredibly dangerous, yet it is happening all around us. Revelation 13:14

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

People are attracted to tongues because of the mystical appeal that has been created. This is why his greatest tools of deception will be of signs and wonders in the name of Jesus – but another Jesus, a false image. 2 Corin 11:4 “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted–you may well put up with it!”

Consider the girl in who Paul casted out the unclean spirit. She was speaking things that had elements of truth as any deception does, but it was not of a honest spirit in her. Acts 16:16-18 We need to be seeking and asking for discernment, and abiding in the Word of God to be able to discern what is of God and what isn’t. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Spirit of Conformity

The second misuse of this gift is from a spirit of conformity. How often I’ve heard of instances where people have been prodded over and over by others to ask for the gift of tongues, so they can “have all God has for them”. These prodders put tongues in a separate group from all the other gifts to be one we all should have as proof of the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us. They get this from Acts 2, which in my opinion is a stretch. The Spirit gives what, when, where and to whom as He wills for a reason. There isn’t a formula to the gifts. When we make it as such we are playing God. It is no longer about being spirit-led but man-led. It is to be His will, not ours.

The power of suggestion is tremendous, (side note: look at the power of hypnosis, which is all about suggestion). If you tell someone, especially repeatedly, they need to speak in tongues, how spiritual it is, etc. they are going to feel less than spiritual if they don’t. Their emotional response will kick in because you are touching upon two of humankind’s greatest needs the need to be accepted and to feel valued. Our minds are very powerful. They cause our bodies to conform to our thoughts. Even for those who are “strong”, given enough prodding they will start to question, which leads to conformity. Because when they do speak in tongues then everyone treats them as spiritual and special.

For those in this group, it is an emotional release leading to babbling, not speaking in tongues. Though, they truly believe they are speaking in tongues, but it is in their head. We are great deceivers to ourselves. Most are babbling out of social acceptance, to feel “spiritual”, to be like those around them, etc. Never underestimate someone’s need to be accepted or to feel spiritual – even those we admire. The gift of tongues as it is often done today, can EASILY be mimicked, so that even those who are doing it are deceived. We can speak garbled language and with the powerful desire to conform, be part of a group, and seen as spiritual we easily convince ourselves and truly believe it was of the spirit.

Rules of Engagement

For these two reasons and among others, Paul tells us about how it is to be used so this confusion and misuse won’t happen! And so the body of believers can more easily discern the spirits. When someone does speak in public they need an interpreter and that interpretation needs to be in accordance with God’s truth – if not they need to keep silent. So if we have this gift; we should ask ahead of time if someone has the gift of interpretation to interpret if not we are to keep silent. If the spirit is calling us to speak, then He will provide and interpreter other than ourselves.

With this and every other gift we need DISCERNMENT. We need to be in God’s truth with a LOVE for the truth to be able to discern between the holy and the profane.

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The True Church

The True Church

One of the first questions you get as a believer is, what church do you belong to?

Here is the “church” I desire and am finding:

It is the true body of believers located around the world. We are connected by spirit and truth. Ephesians 4:4 We are united because we are one in Christ. We are the temple of God whose foundation isn’t brick and stone, but the Word of God. Ephesians 2:20-22 It is a place without walls. It is about the body of believers coming together in spirit and truth and worshipping our God in the same. John 4:24. It is about the heart – as true love flows from God to each other. Gathering together isn’t about being in the same place, but being of one heart and united in the Spirit of God – though sometimes we are in the same place; in homes, coffee shops, nature. We meet other members all over. Membership is about the heart. We fellowship when and wherever. We pray when and wherever. We help each other (as led by the spirit) when there is a need. We are spirit-led not man-led. It isn’t about a building, a day, a time, a place, a format, a program, it is about our lives.

It is about unity not divisions. 1 Corinthians 1:12-13. Vulnerability, authenticity and honesty are fostered because there isn’t the pressure to conform or to fit a certain profile, but a freedom to be who we are as children learning and growing in Christ. Matthew 23:28

Each one is longing for and actively cultivating an intimate relationship with God, then comes together to share in the fruit, gifts, and questions of that personal relationship. Our passion is for God to be our first love. We seek to hear His voice, as we spend time listening. We long to go wherever He leads. The source of our spiritual nourishment is the Word of God, not man’s interpretation of His Word. We go there to feast on the truth. We are filled, satisfied and transformed. Truth is searched out no matter what it may be. Motives are purified. Honesty is grown within our lives as we are uncovered. There is confession and forgiveness. There is the sharing of burdens and fervent prayers for one another. True hope abounds. Mercy and grace prevails. Love consumes. Lies are revealed and expelled. We are exposed, delivered and healed.

The Holy Spirit is sought as each one’s most trusted counselor. He is our Teacher. He is our Authority. Spiritual gifts are manifested from the spirit of God not of spirits of deception. There is true accountability because the Holy Spirit dwells within each member convicting and leading. God is truly the head, not man. He is the Lord, the Shepherd, and the Leader. Ezekiel 34:23, Ezekiel 37:24

Belonging to the church, the true church is about the state of the heart.

This temple is found in the hearts of true believers. It isn’t a place made with man’s hands, but with God’s, and it is tremendous.

Related Posts:

Unhealthy verses Healthy Fellowship

Foundation for Young Believers (Address the issue of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves)

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