Living Light

Stirring The Deep


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Audio Series – Developing a Relationship with God

Audio Series – Developing a Relationship with God

 

RachelDiPaolo1On Blog Talk Radio, I’m recording a series of shows all around cultivating a deep relationhsip with God, which I encourage you to check out. The shows are interconnected and build upon one another, but you don’t have to listen to them in order, though I recommend it.

To access them, you can either click on the link to the right and go to Blog Talk Radio or go to Itunes and subscribe to them. In Itunes under podcasts, search for Stirring the Deep and they will come up.

Ones now available are:

Tasting God’s Goodness
Adorned as God’s Bride
Growing in Intimacy with God through the Bible


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Love Letters to God

Love Letters to God 

In the last post, I recommended writing two love letters to God; one reflecting where you are today in your relationship with God and one where you would like to be.

The first commandment is:

Matthew 12:30 ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

How many of us actually live a life that fulfills this commandment? What do you do with someone you love? Do you do the things that cultivate a relationship with God in which you can love Him with all your heart, soul and mind? Sadly most are more concerned about following the commandments of men (i.e. being in church) and those are put first, while this one is lost in the busyness.

I challenge you to put God first. Seek for Him to be your first love.  Do what it takes to Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Spend quality time with Him each day getting to know Him through His Word; talking, listening, sharing and growing in unity. Seek to learn from and listen to His Holy Spirit given to you.  Start by writing a love letter describing your relationship today and then write one for where you want to be. Then you’ll know where you are headed and then DO what it TAKES to get there.

Here are a few exerts from the letters I wrote. How limited our words are.

Exerpt of my Love Letter of Today

My Lord,

How my heart longs for you; your presence, love and truth. You are my everything. Apart from you I’m nothing and can do nothing. You are my life.  

Time with you each day means so much. I cherish each moment we spend together. It ills me to miss it. Your words spoken to me are perfect. You always know just what to say and when to say it. My heart longs to hear your voice constantly. Let your whispers ring clear in my ears. Be ever so close to me.

Thank you for the love you’ve shown me. It’s one far purer, deeper and more real than I’ve ever known. Thank you for the strength, peace and help you give me. Your faithfulness is my hope, delight and strength. I feel protected in our embrace. The shelter of your strong countenance give me peace.

I love you Lord. I want to know you more. I want more of you to consume me as I’ve tasted your goodness.

Exerpt of my Love Letter of the Future

My Lord,

We are bound, You and I, in the soul. We do everything together in unity of will, truth and love. You are the love of my life. Your love pulsates through me and others feel that vibration. I can’t stop talking of You for you consume my thoughts and my life. Our oneness is deep, rich, powerful and passionate. Only in your strength do I breathe. I see and feel you in every step and at every turn. Your words of wisdom fill my thoughts; I can’t wait to hear what you will say next. They leave room for nothing else.

All day long I hear your sweet whispers to me. In everything I think of and consult you, for our lives are one. I’m clothed in your love. May your fountain of living waters never cease to fill me. May there never be a separation between you and I.

You are my joy, strength and life. Your love is sweeter than any I’ve known. It changes, renews and refreshes me. I feel captivated by your love. I’ve never felt more alive than I do now.

Your spirit moves in me like a gentle breeze. It never leaves; even in the stillness the power of your spirit is evident.

I long for you and yet you are always there. I hunger for more and you constantly fill me up. There is no love like your love.

I feel the fortress of your countenance surround me and in you nothing can harm me.

Our footsteps are as one. My mind never wanders from your truth. My eyes never glance at another. I’ve know the perfection of our ways, there is no one who can compare.

In you my energy is boundless, I could run forever. Yet the rest and peace that fills every breath creates a balance of perfection.

With your hand under me there isn’t anything I can’t do; no challenge I can’t conquer. Your care for me overwhelms me.

I am most blessed among all to know your love. May you be the love of my life for eternity.

There is no better time than NOW to start getting to truly know God as He is so that you can truly love Him as He is.


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Abiding in the ENTIRE Word of God

Abiding in the ENTIRE Word of God

Today I’m celebrating 13 years of marriage to a wonderful man. Our marriage is better today than it ever has been and it’s ALL attributed to what I spoke of last week, seeking God. I know most don’t believe that’s the answer to their heart’s desires, needs, problems, concerns – but it is. When God’s truth and love fills our lives, it changes everything. Let me tell you a secret, Matthew 6:33 REALLY is true. Few believe the truth of this verse, because few truly seek God first. It’s a great loss for it affects everything in our lives. I’ve walked life on both sides, seeking and not, there is no comparison to the difference. I had no idea. But you don’t until you seek. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Last week I talked about the importance of seeking God, and how it’s foundational to our lives. This post expands on that topic in talking about an essential aspect to seeking, reading the ENTIRE Word of God being TAUGHT by the SPIRIT.

When we read the Bible it’s CRITICAL to read the ENTIRE Word; to give attention to all books. The more I talk to others, the more I’m learning that very few truly abide in the entire Word of God. Let me tell you it makes ALL the difference. The Bible fits together like a huge puzzle. Each verse, chapter, book is connected to the rest to create a fullness of truth as God desires us to know it. When we neglect certain parts, we are getting partial truth, and that leads to all kinds of problems.

If we leave out certain books, skim over others, read a verse hear and there, we aren’t allowing the Spirit the opportunity to teach us all we need to know. Especially in these days, we need to be abiding in the entire word of God trusting the Spirit to teach us for it’s the truth that will save us. 2 Thessalonians 2:10

For example on a serious note, much of what happens in the end days is spoken of by the prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets Hosea through Malachi). Their words in line with the rest of the Bible create a picture of what will happen in the end. To understand the fullness of truth as God desires us to know for the times we are living in, we need to read the entire Word. When we abide, meditate, seek and look to the Holy Spirit to teach us, we are allowing ourselves access to some very important truths. The truth protects and guides us. Otherwise we will have partial truth and partial understanding, which leaves an open door to deception. So it’s not just reading the Bible, but the ENTIRE Bible with the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit that matters.

Here are some Tips for Reading the Word that are vital for diving deep into the Truth.

  1. Read the ENTIRE Word. I suggest one chapter from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament with a Psalm or Proverb each day.
  2. Give ATTENTION to all the books.
  3. Trust the Holy Spirit to TEACH you ALL things. 1 John 2:27, John 14:26. Your foundation of truth needs to be built by God, not man. A foundation built upon man’s words, opinions and interpretations of the Bible is shaky ground. In addition, the Spirit teaches in a way that man doesn’t so that the truth is written on our hearts and minds, changing us.
  4. Read not as a task to check off your list, but put your heart and soul into it. Meditate, abide, contemplate, and ask God for understanding. Read the Word with the ATTITUDE that you are communing with God, learning from Him. Draw near to Him through His Word as you would someone you love with a devotion, passion, desire to know Him as He is.
  5. RIGHTLY DIVIDE the Word 2 Timothy 2:15. Be observant for how the Spirit connects verses together bringing certain ones to mind as you read others.
  6. Read a VERSION close to the original Greek and Hebrew. Use the Strong’s concordance.
  7. Abide in the PURE Word – just you and God – trusting the Spirit to teach you what you need to know when you need to know it. There is a time for others’ words, but have the mindset that God is your primary teacher and that His instruction is foundational and all others secondary.
  8. PRAY for a passion for the truth. Abide, meditate, and listen.
  9. Read with the MOTIVE to seek God. Get to know Him as He is, to get to know His ways and truth – not to “fix” you or  for a lesson to teach the Sunday school class. Ask God what does HE want to teach you today – and open up your mind and heart to anything He might want to show you. Your needs will be resolved as you seek Him FIRST.
  10. Read DAILY the REST of your life. No engagement is richer, deeper, more powerful and true. The Word is dynamic, powerful. Truth builds upon truth so there is no end to learning.

God has given us all we need to have His power move through our lives – His Word and His Spirit. The two work hand in hand. One without the other doesn’t work, but together they are a mighty force in our lives. When you seek God in this way, you move into true life – one of truth, protection, beauty, joy, peace, comfort and hope – one that is abundant.

Please don’t waste any more time on all the things that don’t matter and won’t make a difference, and do the one thing that will, seek God.


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An Adulterous Affair

An Adulterous Affair

I was in an adulterous affair for years. I claimed alliance to my husband, but my actions told a different story. I spent my time and energy cultivating trust and intimacy elsewhere. In all honesty, my husband and I didn’t have much of a relationship; it was in word only – not of the heart. We rarely talked. We hardly spent time together. Oh, I played the act of the good wife at the right times, but that is all it was – an act. Yet, I expected him to do so much for me. I hung out more with our friends than him. It was extremely backwards. I was very selfish and one sided. I was so caught up in my adulterous emotions because it felt “good” that I didn’t really think about what I was doing to him, me or to us. I didn’t realize I was living a lie that would never fulfill.

My husband was God. (not my earthly husband)

Today I have a wonderful relationship – beyond my expectations. I’m so thankful He never gave up on me.

Adultery is a deceptive beast because the adulterers are so captivated by the sensual emotions that they don’t realize all the damage and pain they are creating.

There are two sides to adultery. On the side of the adulterer, there are feelings of excitement in the newness, the unknown, and the combined desire. On the other side of the one being cheated on, there are feelings of intense pain and hurt taking claim of their hearts. With adultery, you can’t have one side without the other. They are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, there is nothing about love in this act. It’s a selfish act that creates intense pain.

Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.

God is our husband; we are His bride. God uses the example of adultery, something we can understand emotionally, in the Bible so we can taste how He feels when He isn’t our first love, what it does to us and our relationship with Him. Ezekiel 23 (Those who profess a relationship with God are the only ones who can cheat on Him, and play the harlot as He speaks of in His Word.)

I’ve talked before about how God’s people play the harlot against Him today. For example, they willingly trust in other things or people when they should be cultivating trust in God. They don’t spend time in His Word fostering intimacy. Without thought, they put other things and people above Him, even the church. They hold a lackadaisical attitude about spending time with Him. They don’t try to trust Him to be their Teacher about Him. They neglect to personally get to know Him. They give others the place of “first love”. They spend their time on everything else even serving Him but not with Him.

The alluring emotions of playing the harlot blind and deceive people to what they are really doing in their relationship with God – destroying it. This is a description of how I use to be. I’ve often considered the pain and loss, but what recently struck me was the other side of the coin – the enticing emotions that pull people into an adulterous affair so they forsake their first love and how blinding those emotions are to what they are truly creating. And I see many people being blinded by these emotions today.

When we are on the side of the adulterer, it doesn’t seem so bad because it feels “good” even though those emotions are fleeting, only in our heads and not reality. Reality is pain and death are being created in our life. But those emotions and the empty promises they allude to lure us in. They emotionally overtake us pushing us farther into the situation and mask any damage we are creating. We want more of what we are feeling and the cost of our actions is thrown to the wind. Actually, we don’t think about the costs, because we are consumed by the emotions and blinded to all sense of judgment, discernment, wisdom and true love. But the reality is we are creating much pain for all involved. Sometimes we don’t think about how our lackadaisical attitude or not spending time to get to know God affects His heart. But we can understand His heart through His Word as He uses the descriptions of harlotry over and over.

Ezekiel 23:19 “Yet she multiplied her harlotry In calling to remembrance the days of her youth, When she had played the harlot in the land of Egypt.

Love is about intimacy, putting others first, looking out for their needs, desiring to be with them, knowing them, listening and talking with them. No one trusts God perfectly, but what is our heart’s desire? What do our actions and efforts show? Do they show we desire intimacy with our Lord and for Him to be our first love?

It is very easy these days to be blinded to the state of our own hearts. Because of the “feel-good” emotions being pressed upon us by many leaders, teachers and pastors, we are mislead to thinking what we feel is love with God because His name is mentioned when it really is selfish indulgence. If it is so deceptive, how do we know we haven’t been lured in? Look at your life, how do you spend your time? What motivates you? What truly is your desire? Who are you listening to the most? Examining our hearts in earnest prayer with God and in His Word will expose the truth in us. 2 Corinthians 13:5

Until I really spent time and acted like a God’s bride, I never saw my actions for what they were – adulterous. I wasted years where I could have been in an incredible relationship. I’m thankful I’m not wasting anymore.

If you have found that your actions haven’t lived up to your words, make a renewed commitment to Christ to be your first love then start living your life to show it by making time to spend with Him, seeking His will, reading His Word, and listening and talking to Him. God is merciful and is looking for those who will come to Him in truth and spirit. Many of us, probably almost all have been in an adulterous affair against our Lord at some point. But now is the time to set things straight with Him.

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The Mark – About Our Minds, Not a Chip

“The Mark”

About Our Minds, Not a Chip

 

When we look to the entire Word of God and not just one verse, the mark of the beast appears to be the one who has left their imprint or mark on our beliefs.

Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

I was meditating on the above verses. What is sealing? How does it relate to the mark? This is what I’ve been exploring . . .

It seems receiving a mark is being sealed and sealing is related to our beliefs. First, the mark can be for good or evil.

Good:
Revelation 7:3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.

Ezekiel 9:3-4 Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; 4 and the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.”

Evil:
Revelation 13:16-17 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

How we are marked depends on what/who we trust in. Our faith is either built on man’s ways or God’s. If we trust in Jesus Christ, if He is Lord of our lives and our only hope for salvation and sanctification then we are sealed in Him. Along with the illustration of having the seal of a king, I was thinking that being sealed is also like sealing up a jar of preserves (I know, but stay with me), the freshness is maintained so it isn’t ruined. When we are sealed in the truth we are preserved in Christ and can’t be corrupted. We are shut in, preserved and maintained by our faith alone. Sealing or having His mark means God’s truth is written on our minds (foreheads) and hearts. It is the truth we live by, therefore what we trust.

The guarantee that we have been sealed is the Holy Spirit abiding within us. When we have His Spirit, our desires become His desires. We long to know and follow His will and that desire testifies that we are His. 1 John 3:24

If we receive the mark of the beast, name or number, then we are sealed for corruption in its truth. The beast’s number is 666, the number of man. Rev. 13:18 Those bearing this mark are simply those who trust in man’s ways.

Ezekiel 9:6 Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the temple.

Those in His sanctuary bearing His name, yet having a foundation of trust in the religious systems and religious men don’t have the mark of God and as the next verses tell will enter into judgment for following man’s wisdom instead of God’s. Ezekiel 9

This life is all about what we believe, what and who we truly trust in. That faith is the foundation of the Christian walk, not works or anything else. Without faith in God we have nothing. He is our first love, our source of truth, and our life, we either live by His truth or this worlds. Whichever truth we trust is the one we are marked with.

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Left Standing – Ashamed or Glorified?

Left Standing …

Ashamed or Glorified?

When the purity of God’s truth invades our souls it exposes our true beliefs.

After spending a couple years of consistent time one-one-one with God in His Word, I had a life/spirit changing awareness about myself. I realized most of what I believed about Christianity was based on other’s words. Therefore the source of my trust was in others not God, which meant my confidence was in them. Up to that point I assumed I trusted God, but when prompted to take a closer look by God’s Spirit searching in my soul I found a different reality.

As I examined where my truth came from, who and where I went to hear and know truth, it was all centered around others and their words. True their words were supposedly based on God’s truth, but it was still their interpretations and opinions about God’s Word. Along with the multitude of warnings in the Bible about not trusting in others, but God, at that moment I set out to seek God and His truth from Him. Over the years, God has been an incredible and faithful Teacher about Himself. It seems I talk a lot about trust in my blogs, but who we really trust is the core of our faith. It affects everything.

I’ve been reading through Jeremiah and Revelations, some heavy books to say the least, yet amazingly rich. The verses below jumped off the page reminding of this awakening I had some time ago about my belief system, and reminding me to daily examine my beliefs in light of His truth because other’s philosophies can easily creep in unnoticed. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Jeremiah 48:13b “As the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel (house of God), their confidence.”

Jeremiah 48:7 “For because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, You also shall be taken. And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together.”

Verses like these are what compelled me to a paradigm shift in my beliefs – seeking truth directly from God. If we take time to pause, these verses prod each one of us into a deep self-examination, Who do you trust REALLY?

Who do you trust for spiritual protection? Church, or God Psalm 18:30

Who is your shepherd? Church, or God. Ezekiel 34:23

Where/Who do you go to be fed (spiritual nourishment)? Church or God 1 John 2:27

Where do you learn about God? Church or God Jeremiah 31:33

Where do you learn about truth? Church or God 2 Peter 3:16-18

Who do you trust for the surety of your salvation? Church or God Hebrews 7:22, Proverbs 11:15

If we chose the first option – our trust and confidence is in the wrong place.

Many of us need to take an honest look at our spiritual lives – is the source of trust the church and others or God? And if it is the church (Bethel or House of God), then one day, as Jeremiah says, we will experience great shame for that trust, because we should have been trusting God. If it is God then we will stand with Him glorifying Him with our lives.

We all trust ourselves, the wisdom of the world and others in areas where we should be trusting God, but the question is – are we seeking God and spending time with Him so that our trust will be in Him alone? One reason for the multitude of denominations is that people are really following a multitude of different teachers and not the Teacher – one area of great misplaced trust. Matthew 23:10, 2 Timothy 4:3 A teacher’s role is to teach us to learn of God from God. I see very few actually giving this type of instruction. Most of them are spoon feeding us what they call truth, but it is their point of view from where they are on their spiritual journey. It may or may not be truth, and according to the vast warnings in God’s Word most aren’t teaching truth. Fellowship is great for sharing insights but the source of our truth, our Teacher is to be God.

God is to be the source of our trust. When He is it means we go to Him directly, to the Bible which is His words, to Him in prayer, to Him in stillness to hear His voice. He calls us to come to Him one-on-one with the Spirit as our mediator not man. Jesus came not to bring another religion but a relationship – an intimate personal relationship with our Father where we commune with Him one-on-one. So many have neglected cultivating this intimacy and will fall for it. Most have lost or never had a love for the truth, and will be lead astray. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 If you love the truth – you want to dwell in it daily, seek out its mysteries, live by it, and dedicate time to abiding in it.

Don’t give your life, your beliefs over to another. Don’t be one of those who stands ashamed at the end because you looked to others when God was calling you to Him and waiting to open up His magnificent kingdom to you. Listen to others this week – listen to yourself – where are you getting your truth – are you saying he said, she said or God said?

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Burned by Religion & Withdrawing from God

Burned by Religion

And

Withdrawing from God?

I’ve had several friends and acquaintances disheartened by Christian “religion” because of various “issues” like creation vs evolution, end times, hell, salvation, legalism, judgment, and hypocrisy to name a few. They still believe in God but have pulled away from the religion and most from seeking God.

I see this happen over and over – people pull away from God because of the religion of man – when in reality the two are often on opposite ends of the continuum. God is not religion and religion is not God. As I was praying about these friends, various thoughts came to mind that I wanted to say to them and I wanted to share with you:

Don’t make a decision about God based solely on others. Many people professing to be of God aren’t. Though they claim to be of Him, He hasn’t sent them or spoken to them. Jeremiah 23:16, 14:14 Deception about God grows worse and worse, but He promises if you seek Him in His Word, you will find Him and He will manifest Himself to you. Jeremiah 29:13

God’s Word is spirit and eternal. Its truth is revealed by the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit there is no understanding. Many claim to have the Spirit and don’t, therefore their interpetations are wrong. Even those who may have His spirit, they are still human and can present incomplete ideas. Bottom line, don’t seek and rely on man’s instruction – seek God’s. Seek God to establish your foundation of truth, then test all you hear by what you learn from God. God gave us His spirit so that we could commune with Him one-on-one and know His truth without a middle man – this is His desire for us. 1 John 2:27

Look to God, seek Him, and the truth of who He is in His Word. Open up your mind to learn of Him, from Him. Start fresh and you will find a much different God than what you’ve been taught.

There is so much God wants to show and do for you. All He requires is for you to seek Him in His Word because that is His truth. Don’t turn your back on Him because of the lies of others. God’s desire is for you to be united to Him. Don’t let others take from you this unity, which is true abundant life for you because in His presence is peace, freedom, rest, joy, protection, provision, healing, power, strength, truth, mercy, love, grace, and comfort. Seek Him in His Word to know Him and your will find Him. Matthew 7:7

Your salvation and sanctification are in His hands. Man doesn’t save. You don’t save yourself. You are saved by God’s will alone. He has a plan for your life. When you feel His prompting on your heart, draw near to Him and to get to know Him. Surrendering your will for His wll is a process that happens as you seek and spend time with Him.

As for God’s plan for this world and for us (end times, hell, etc), it is much greater than what many preach. Their views are limited because they are fallen men and women. As a result, their ideas are often full of bondage and lies. If you seek Him, He will start to reveal His plan to you bit by bit as you need to know. Many attribute to Him what He hasn’t proclaimed or even desired. Jeremiah 32:35

As you seek, you will find that God’s wisdom is perfect and your understanding of this world will grow, not diminish (like in the creation vs evolution debate). The Word is spiritual. It is written layer upon layer and full of symbolism and parables to teach deeper truths. To deny this structure is to miss out on the truth. Those who read it literally miss out on the deeper layers that bring truth to His entire Word.

Christianity isn’t about rules, legalism, laws, it is about a true relationship with God built upon truth, trust and love. God desires us – not our works.

I pray you put your past experiences that tainted your view of God behind you. Seek to abide in a relationship with God as you were created to do because without Him life remains incomplete, lost, lacking, unfulfilled, and broken. Give God an opportunity to show Himself as He is to you, and He will blow your mind with His goodness, love, and the realness of His presence in your life.

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God Seeker

God Seeker

 

Ezra 8:22b The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.”

How many of us truly seek God? We seek a “good” church, an “inspiring” pastor, “insightful” teaching, “fulfilling” programs, “meaningful” fellowship, to be healed inside and out, to feel good about ourselves, and the list goes on. But how many of us truly seek God? Hosea 13:6

In general, most seem to be more concerned with finding the “right” church than spending time with God – seeking Him and communing with Him in His Word one-on-one as a passionate bride.

Interestingly in the past couple of years, I’ve noticed many of my acquaintances feeling restlessness in their spirits; something is missing, unfulfilling, and off. They assume it is time to find a new church. But what if that restlessness is God calling them to Him, not another church? God wants a personal intimate relationship with us, but most are too busy trying to cultivate a relationship with the “right” church. He is stirring spirits to draw near to Him. But instead of turning to God and seeking Him, they continue to seek what won’t fulfill.

Amos 5:5-6 But do not seek Bethel (house of God, church), Nor enter Gilgal, Nor pass over to Beersheba; For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, And Bethel shall come to nothing. 6 Seek the Lord and live, Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, And devour it, With no one to quench it in Bethel—

For years I grew up seeking the things of “Bethel” and my life was a mess. I had no idea what death and destruction filled my days because I was blinded to my own state as I was reassured by others I was on the right path. But now that I have been seeking God for some time the difference in my life between now and then is enormous. I still have a long way to go, but finally I am moving forward instead of circles. I was trapped in bondage, affliction, and pain. I was trapped in myself. But when I started seeking God– He starting bringing me into freedom, healing, truth, true life, peace, rest, and joy, because I was brought into Him. Most Christians are settling for a life far below what Christ came to give because they are seeking the wrong thing – the church system instead of Him.

Most have a religion not a relationship. Most seek Bethel, the church system, and its programs, teaching, fellowship, and leaders but not God. But without a heart after God all these things are meaningless. And this is why the church is in the state it is – far from truth and full of starving souls trapped in deception. Few seek to know God in His Word and trust Him to teach them about Him, but this is what He desires of us. And this is the path to true life.

Seeking God starts by abiding in His Word, one-on-one. The Bible is His Words to us. It peeks into His will, purpose, character, and heart drawing us closer to Him. Once we are building upon the foundation of His Word in our lives, not some other man’s truth or interpretation, then all our other actions are molded in His truth – prayer, worship, fellowship, meditation, and so on. Otherwise all we do is established upon sand and not the Rock.

God made it simple for us – seek Him, and He will take care of the rest Matthew 6:33. Who or what are you truly seeking? Now is the time for the deep honest reflection because those seeking Bethel will be lead astray because they are following man not God. Jeremiah 50:6

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


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Religion of Love

Religion of Love

 

Authentic Christianity isn’t a religion in the sense that we gain merit and acceptance from God when we obey various rules and regulations and carry out certain duties. Christianity stands alone in that our worth, value and acceptance is derived from God’s love and grace, not our performance. Christianity is a religion of love, and nothing like religion. However, religion has crept into most of Christianity making it what it was never intended to be. His love and grace are hard concepts to accept because everything we do is based on our performance to some extent. To help renew our minds to this new way of thinking, we need to stop worrying about what man dictates and focus our energies on what Christ instructs.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets

This commandment sounds simple, but we can easily misunderstand it and neglect to fulfill it unless we understand the type of love we are talking about. God’s love far exceeds anything we have experienced or have given in this carnal world. It only comes from Him. For this reason, God said in John 13:35 that others would know us by our love because it is something this world or we can’t give on our own even if we wanted to.

Our initial understanding of love is born out of the world therefore it is of a carnal nature. The love of God is spiritual. We know that these two entities are in opposition. Hence the love of the world opposes the love of God. Consider the multitude of perversions of worldly love. It is overly sexual, demanding, needy, detached or restricted. It is used to control, manipulate, dominate, suppress, deny, and sabotage. These distorted understandings come from various venues; families, first loves, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends, spouses, magazines, movies, music, books, and religion. All these sources converge to define our concept of love and rarely do we question the final outcome. We recognize that we may have not of been loved or given love as we feel we should have but our understanding of love remains an unquestioned force in our lives. Without much consideration, we transfer this carnal love onto God.

Knowing and accepting God’s love takes time because it is so different from what we know. God’s love is based on Him, not us. It is unchanging, unconditional, consuming, perfect, pure, complete, selfless, in truth, and in harmony with all that He is (all knowing, holy, just, and righteous) and that is only the beginning.

God’s love goes beyond our human capability to fully understand and contain it. It is defined by who He is, therefore it is much much greater than ourselves. We are a little lagoon and God is all the oceans of the world and beyond. His love is more than what we could ever contain and we can only experience and give His love if He fills us up first. And that is the cornerstone of Christ’s command – we can’t fulfill it unless we are born of His spirit that has the ability to hold and give such a love.

Once we are spiritually born, in proportion to the growth of our spirit is our ability to hold and give His love. Our spirits are an expanding reservoir in our bodies that hold the treasures of God. It is from this new spirit within us that the love of God flows. If our spirit is small then it holds a little and gives a little, and the rest of us, the flesh, will dominate our actions most of the time. But as that spirit grows taking over territories of our soul then we are capable of holding and giving more. The kingdom of God, God’s territory in our souls, is compared to a mustard seed, it starts very small but is capable of grower larger than everything else. Matthew 13:31-32 Giving true love is a natural outcome of our spirit’s life. We can’t give what we don’t have. We need to seek a love beyond ourselves.

So, how do we experience more of God’s love? We get to know Him like we would a spouse. We dive into Him and His revelation of Himself to us, the Bible. If we love God or desire to love Him, then we will spend time with Him in His Word getting to know Him.

Being God’s child means we have the ability to know and give His love, a love greater than ourselves. Our religion is relationships of love; love from God, love for God and love for others and it is all of God’s work in and through us, not of ourselves.

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

1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,

We have to seek to know His love because it is so different from what we have experienced in the past. As we seek Him, He will reveal His love to us in an intimate way then we will make a difference to the world because His love will flow through us.


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Temporary Reign of Our Self Will

Temporary Reign of Our Self Will

 

I was thinking how this world is saturated with “evil”; philosophies, ideas and beliefs full of deception that cause all kinds of pain, destruction, horrific acts, and death to our spirits. The extent of evil became overwhelming, but then I realized, most of the world is going to be evil because for the time being God has put Satan, the personification of our self-will, in charge of this world. 1 John 5:19, Ephesians 2:2 I think for two main reasons; to show us that following self doesn’t work and the power of God’s love to redeem us out of this world into His Kingdom.

Satan, our self-will, doesn’t submit to God therefore he can’t bring about anything that is truly good, pure and of love because only God’s ways produce these things. As prince of this earth, our self-will governs all the major powerhouses; politics, education, business, media, and religion. (Here I am defining religion as the man-made system and doctrine supposedly established on truth which creates a belief structure dictating certain behaviors.) Most of us don’t think about our religion, our safe haven, as overrun by evil, but if you open your eyes you will see it is one of the worst as the Bible states repeatedly.

For example, in the man-made system that blankets true Christianity lies bondage, legalism, focus on self, and customs that separate us from God – the formula of religion, which reads: if you were a good Christian you would be in church, tithe, baptized with the right amount of water, walk the aisle, honor this day, don’t drink that, and so on. Evil, anything contrary to true goodness, disguised as good is the worst form of evil – because people are easily led astray. Any belief system that goes against God’s truth is evil.

Evil in religion is most damaging because people put their trust in it. It forms the foundation of people’s beliefs and views about them, others and God. When it is full of lies and deception it is incredibly destructive leading to spiritual decay and death.

We are here in these bodies to learn that following self or man’s will, in religion and everywhere else, doesn’t work. For creatures with a free will, we have to learn whose will to follow. We are all seeing the ramifications of the reign of self in our lives and the lives of others and it isn’t a pretty picture. God created us to be united to Him, dependent on Him and for Him to be in charge not us. Any other way destroys life, physically and spiritually.

So what do we do to avoid being consumed by the evil around us particularly in religion?

1. Cultivate a relationship with God not with religion. Many of us have spent more time nurturing a relationship with the church and ministries than with God. This flip flop leads to one thing, spiritual death. God called us out of religion and into a relationship, because religion, man’s list of should do’s and have to’s, is easily corrupted.

2. Develop a relationship with God so we can submit to His will. We can’t submit to someone we aren’t personally acquainted with. Without intimacy, there is no true knowledge or trust and therefore no submission.

3. Abide in the truth, the Word of God. Self-will, the cornerstone of evil, is built on a foundation of lies because it promises things it can never deliver because only God can; truth, freedom, peace, rest, joy and love. Therefore the only way to come out of it is by countering it with the truth. The truth sets us free. Without reading and meditating on the Words of God on a daily basis, we won’t know the truth to be able to discern what is true and what isn’t. When we do abide, we gain discernment in all areas including religion.

God’s people are the ones He called out to show those lost in deception that His ways lead to true life, joy and love – everything we desire. However, without the Word as the cornerstone of our lives, our self-wills will reign and our spirits will be overtaken by the world and we won’t stand out. Without the Word there isn’t truth and without truth we remain in bondage to our self-will. We will continue to live in fears, afflictions, lies, depravity and lack of love manifesting our own evil.

The result of Satan’s governance in religion is churches have put our life source, the Word of God, at the bottom of the priority list. It has been tossed aside, interpreted instead of read, and is no longer the priority. Why? Because it has power, life, and transforms lives – the one thing Satan doesn’t want. Most churches are bypassing the requirement for our lives that Christ is our Lord. People have tunnel vision about what the Word says about Christ’s Lordship. Because they are listening to their leaders and not in the Word themselves, they believe the gospel is about a ticket to heaven and that is a lie that causes death to our spirits. Going to heaven is a result of His Lordship in our lives. We need to examine what it means for Him to be Lord. When He is Lord of our lives, then the Word is at the center of our days because He is the Word, and we stand outside of evil as a beacon of light, truth, hope and love.