Living Light

Stirring The Deep


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Placebo of Religion vs. True Belief

Placebo of Religion vs. True Belief

 

John 3:15-16 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

What does it mean for a soul to believe in Christ Jesus?

If you knew there was a treasure in your backyard that would solve all your problems and give you all you desire, what would your response be?

If someone told you that if you took a pill and it would bring perfect health to your body, but you wouldn’t see the affects until you die, what would your response be?

In the first scenario, you would go digging and seeking, wouldn’t you? In the second, you wouldn’t give it a second thought because what would health matter once you were dead?

The Bible tells us of the first scenario, if we truly believe in Christ (the Word of life, truth) then we will have abundant everlasting life. God will make our paths smooth, defeat our enemies, deliver us, heal us, and give us the mind of Christ. To abide in truth, which is love, is a powerful reality. There are MANY beautiful and powerful promises for those who truly trust in God. What’s our response to those powerful words? Do we see most people diligently seeking to know the truth and to discover the paths of life while forfeiting all else to find that priceless treasure? Matthew 13:45-46 Do we see people living out those promises of rest, peace, and rejoicing in all truth?

Placebo of Religion

Do people truly believe in Christ? Or a religion built around the Bible and an image of God? What do people’s actions reveal? James 2:19, 26 One is the true treasure, the other a placebo. A person’s actions testify to their beliefs. Most believe steadfastly in a religion, which crafts an image around God and what it means to be a godly person, while the treasure hunt for truth is largely neglected. 2 Timothy 4:3 Why the blindness when it comes to what it means to believe in Christ? James 2:19  People cling to religion; not Christ, which is a huge difference, yet this difference seems to go mostly unnoticed.

The path of life is narrow and few find it. Matthew 7:13-14 Communing directly with God and learning to hear His voice and obey leads to the path of life. Seems easy, but in a world of lies, it’s much harder than it appears, this is why few do it. A corrupted self-will governed by lies keep people blind from seeing the truth. It keeps them imprisoned by focusing on the wrong things and not the right ones. In deception, you don’t know you are deceived, that is the whole point. To satisfy the longing in their hearts for God, many people have mistakenly fallen for the placebo; they took the pill of religion. It comes to them as the way to God (and an easy way – Satan knows us well); just follow what someone tells you to do and think, instead of learning of God yourself.  However, we reap what we sow. If we reap religion, empty promises await. If we reap righteousness and the presence of God that is what we experience. Hosea 10:12 What a glorious treasure to really dwell in the heart of God’s love.

The pill of religion is a dead end, literally. It’s the most damaging of situations, because people think it leads to life, but it doesn’t, thus they are worse off than before. When you think you’ve found, you stop seeking and the doors that would’ve led you to truth have been blocked. Further, the closer a religion is to the truth the more compelling and imprisoning. Yet, this falsity of religion goes unnoticed because the “testifying results of the truth” have been removed until you die and go to “heaven”; when only then are you righteous, only then do you have abundant life, and only then are you free from suffering and pain. When the results of the belief are removed, how do you know it’s the right belief? The Apostle Paul spoke of results. He talked of the kingdom of heaven within us and what that meant for our lives, right now.

Paul spoke about growing in righteousness. 1 Peter 1:2, 15 If we weren’t, then he said our beliefs were in vain, thus null and void. 1 Corin 15:2 When someone truly believes something it affects him/her to the core. If people believed in Christ and the paths of life, their lives and this world would be totally transformed because true life would be here. 2 Timothy 2:19 Conversely, religion makes excuses to make nil the proof of spiritual health. Suffering and afflictions are accepted as a way of life, not the death Christ delivers us from. When the “testifying results” are removed people can’t see it for the lie that it is. Thus, everything around them remains cloaked in death. Without the contrast of true life no one is the wiser.

God is in us and we in God if we are being transformed glory unto glory. 2 Corin 3:18 When we experience increasing peace, rest, loving kindness, joy, mercy, wisdom, and gentleness beyond ourselves and from our core, then we are growing in truth, in Christ. Then we believe. Do you see His growing righteous love in your soul that is a true transformation and not a forced self-will of goodness cloaked in hypocrisy? Have you received Christ’s testimony; His life of abundant grace, power, and transformation? John 3:33

People believe money brings about certain freedoms, necessities, and blessings in this life. They sacrifice, strive, effort, work and give much of their life to gain money to provide for themselves and their family. They believe money is what they need to get want they need, and their actions reflect that belief.

Do people believe in God like that? Do people give their lives to know Him in truth and spirit as He is, and desire above all to walk in His ways?  Conversely, most find it easier to trust in other things other than God and very difficult to trust in God. As for God, they’ve boxed Him out of their lives by religion.

True belief in God is stifled in a world of lies. When we are imprisoned in darkness how do we see the light? How do we break free from the web of lies in our minds and know the truth of God in all purity, which we truly hunger for?  You’ve seen that darkness in others; you’ve experienced it for yourself. What hope do we have for this world; if so few find the narrow way?

AMAZING HOPE, thanks to the grace poured out to us in Christ in these days. The ability to truly believe comes by the power of God’s spirit in us … which I’ll address next time, God willing.


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Making Cookies & Worship of Our Work

Making Cookies & Worship of Our Work

Don’t let the picture fool you, this is a VERY IMPORTANT truth to understand.

 

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.

There is a saying around our house when we think we are doing anything to “help God out” that reminds us it’s all Him and nothing of us; we’re just making cookies. Anything “good” or “useful” we do for God is Him working in and through us and not us at all.

As a young girl, I loved helping my mom bake cookies; especially my much needed role as taster <smiles>. In my young mind, I believed I was a much greater help than I actually was. It was ALL my mom’s doing. Yet, my mom graciously allowed me to delight in the fun of baking with her. She gave me little tasks to do like stirring the ingredients together, which she always gave a few extra swirls. Yet to me, I was making some of the best cookies in the world!

She encouraged me in “helping” her because it was a wonderful bonding time for the both of us. She wanted me to “help”, but it wasn’t for my amazing assistance but because she loved me and took pleasure in making them together and seeing my joy in playing a part.

We are like the child who is helping their mom make cookies. We don’t do anything of good on our own; it’s all God. He lets us take part because it’s a delight to Him and us. We are able to do what we do because He is governing, directing and performing all things for us. We can’t throw God off; we won’t mess up His plans; and He works out all perfectly. In every action and word, as His offspring we can trust He is faithful in directing and using us according to His ways, which are not our ways.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Establishing our own Righteousness 

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

“Making Cookies” serves to remind us, we are not to be crafting our own righteousness, because we can’t. A twisted truth derived from the religious community is how we serve God. We want to be serving, working and doing for God because deep down it makes us feel like a better person; which is establishing our own righteousness. Instead of wholly relying on the righteous of God to fill and govern our lives, we are relying on ourselves.

Worshipping the Work of Our Hands

Isaiah 2:8 Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made

This mentality leads to worshipping the work of our hands. It’s looking to our ability; as in to provide, protect, heal, redeem, teach, and fix situations; the essence of self-reliance, self-sufficient, being in control and independence. Matthew 7:22-23, Proverbs 14:16

Our Part: Abide

John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

God is spirit. We are flesh and spirit. To experience God in the flesh, we have to allow our spirits to be united, influenced and governed by Him. When we do, His nature manifests in our lives in the forms of peace, rest, power, joy, blessing, and righteous love.

Our part is to abide in unity with God. In fellowship with God that leads to unity, we are listening, obeying and gaining trust to relinquish all control to God’s ways and work. As our self-will steps aside, He runs our souls and lives. We cease to judge and work and He governs.  If I didn’t bake cookies with my mom, then I wouldn’t have taken part in that bonding time with her or the fruit of our interaction, yummy cookies. God moves through us. But any goodness or good works are of Him, not us. Big difference. Are you getting it?

Rest is Power

Psalm 57:2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me.

Being attached to the vine and God moving through us as He wills is central to abiding in His rest. Hebrews 4:9-11 At rest, our self-will is nullified, and God’s will is ruling. We cease from our works and God works. In this rest, the power of God flows.

You see the true power of God, when you stop efforting and let Him work. To be governed (also used by) by God is to let go of all control, and let God determine each step; steps often counter to what you, religion, or the world would dictate. It’s letting go of all images of who and what you should be doing, and let God direct you daily. It’s following His still small voice, daily. Your life is His venue to work as He wills in you and others. In this our lives become a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1 In this state, we lack the awareness of what our left hand is doing from the right. Becuase its not us, but God.

Matthew 6:3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

This framework removes self-righteousness, because you aren’t doing anything but obeying His voice. It removes fears that you aren’t doing enough or did or said the wrong thing. In this truth, our hearts overflow with peace, praise and joy. So delight in making cookies and don’t make any more of it.


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The Ultimate Choice: Choose Life

The Ultimate Choice: Choose Life

Would you rather be operating by God’s mind or by your own? God is giving you the choice.

The Choice

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

The pilgrimage through this earth comes down to a singular decision. Will you choose to be TOTALLY governed by God or self? What you choose depends on the life you will have; the first manifests true life and the second death. It’s one or the other because God is life and anything contrary is death. Most people unknowingly choose death because of the lie that has kept people from God; that life fully governed by God is less than what they can give themselves. When in reality, the only things you miss out on are the things of death.

The life we desire; peace, joy, righteous love, truth, rest, contentment, and blessing, comes when our souls are united to God’s Spirit so that His spirit operates our being in every way. This life is manifested when our self-will is literally dead, silenced, and God’s Spirit takes the reigns. Galatians 2:20  

The ultimate blessing is to be completely directed by God so that our every desire, thought and word is of Him, by Him and through Him; a place where we are fully governed by the Spirit of God and nothing of our self-will. Lamentations 3:24 In this state abundant life is manifested in us and in our lives.

Isaiah 58:13 If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,

The eternal Sabbath is being at complete rest, so that you are totally powered by God’s spirit. When you are governed by Him, you are at rest because it’s all Him and nothing of you. John 15:5  In rest, you do nothing of yourself. You give up all your ways, pleasures and words to God and He drives your life. If you aren’t working, efforting, striving or exerting your will, then His will can prevail. You cultivate no trust or confidence in anything of this flesh existence. The exterior life is nothing but the shell that is powered by God. In this state, you are a complete slave to God and His righteousness and know no other greater delight, for He is life. Acts 17:28

Romans 6:18   And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Imagine if ALL you did was directed by God who knows everything … the outcome and ripple effect of every action?  All you do would be done in truth and righteous love. Imagine how your life would blossom into all it was meant to be. This is what Christ came to create, God’s spirit abiding within souls of mankind, Immanuel.

How to silence your self-will?

What is the path to make this choice; to be completely governed by God?

  1. SEEK God in TRUTH and SPIRIT. You need to know the difference of your self-will and God’s will and the extent of its control in your life. If you don’t seek truth FROM GOD, you can’t make this decision because you don’t have the knowledge of what the decision entails. You can’t choose what you don’t know. How can you know without diligently seeking daily and above all else?

Jeremiah 7:13 And now, because you have done all these works,” says the LORD, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer

  1. BUILD a relationship with God so you can TRUST Him. To honestly let go of all, you have to trust God and nothing of yourself. How can you trust without an intimate relationship?
  2. ACT on His instruction specifically to you. As you act according to God’s counsel and witness His faithfulness, you come to a point of forsaking all to be completely governed by Him – then the choice is the result. How can you act if you aren’t listening to Him?

In our limited awareness, we have no idea the outcome of what we do. If we hold onto our own judgments about what is good (essence of religions), we’ll make errors (sin) leading to pain and suffering in our lives and others. No matter how good our intentions, we don’t know the beginning and the end. Thus, anything done of ourselves, no matter if we judge it good or not, is sin. Sin equates to death. Therefore, we need to be at rest and letting God flow through us as He wills which is accomplished by forsaking every aspect of our self-will and letting His will rule. John 5:30

Seeking God and His truth with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, abiding in rest, and experiencing the fruit of His Spirit testify that we have chosen His will over ours; a life we can start experiencing now. When we come to this point, we are ruled by God’s Spirit thus walk in His commandments, because He is living through us and His righteousness taking us over.

More Discussion on this Topic


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Fellowship: A Spiritual Matter

Fellowship: A Spiritual Matter

 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Fellowship is a spiritual interaction between two or more souls. It’s connecting with other similar spirits. There is only one of two spirits which we can be; a spirit of God or a spirit not of God, a spirit of truth or a spirit of lies, a spirit of light or a spirit of darkness. Which kingdom we belong to and foster faith in signifies what type of spirit we are, (see post). Because of this polarization, we can only connect with those of the same spirit; a spirit of light can’t connect with a spirit of darkness … And what communion has light with darkness?

Last week I talked about how we engage in “buying and selling” to increase our faith within the two different kingdoms. (see post)

We “buy and sell” with the kings of the kingdoms, but we also trade (A form of “buying and selling” in which two or more have something to offer and exchange; the beliefs they bought) with those who are in the kingdom, another word for trading is fellowshipping.

Matthew 25:16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.

We trade (fellowship) with those of the same kingdom as we are. For example, the man who has chosen to “buy and sell” faith from Christ can only trade with others who are “buying and selling” from that same kingdom because God’s truth and wisdom are contrary to the world’s. 1 Corin 3: 19, 2 Corin 1:12 As we commune with others buying from the Holy Spirit and we exchange what we’ve been learning, this exchange affects our faith.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

We increase our faith by 1. “buying and selling” with the king of the kingdom and 2. trading (fellowshipping) with others of the same kingdom. Following the example from my previous post, if we are trading with others who believe working 16 hours a day leads to the fulfillment of their desire, then our faith will be strengthened in that worldly belief. If we are trading with others who are following God’s wisdom and enjoying true rest and the power of God working in their lives, our faith in His wisdom will be strengthened.

Matthew 18:20″For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”  (what kingdom you increase faith in is the one you bear the name of)

For fellowship/trading to occur both have to be “buying and selling” individually from the king, because then they have something to exchange and trade. If one is buying from Christ and the other not, no exchange can take place. This disunity is why people can hear the truth from others, and not be changed by it. Someone can hear one speak of the truth, but it falls on deaf ears because they are seeped in “buying and selling” with the kingdom of lies jading what they hear. These people haven’t been buying the gold refined in fire from Christ, the Word of God, but have been “buying and selling” with the kingdom of darkness. It’s one or the other. Each one does their own “buying and selling” from the king, then they can fellowship. If two souls’ kings are different, there is no fellowship, there is no trade.

Matthew 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

We “buy and sell” in every area of our lives. Most everyone is taught to “buy and sell” from the kingdom of darkness from birth.  To move out of the kingdom of darkness, we have to make a choice to start “buying and selling” with the King of  the kingdom of light. John 6:29. As we do, we move away from the kingdom of darkness, its ways and philosophies, until we become aliens in this world, disconnected and consumed with the light of truth. As this happens, our lives start to bear the fruit of kingdom of light; rest, peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment, and love. There is only one kingdom whose ways deliver what it promises, the other is full of lies and manipulation of our hope.

Our faith determines what our lives manifest. Seek to “buy and sell” the truth from the King and fellowship with those who do the same.

 


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Making Sacred Time for God

Making Sacred Time for God

The sun dawns and stirs souls to engage the new day. As the sun brightens their eyes, they grab a cup of hot coffee or tea and spend the next hour, talking, listening and deeply engaging God in the sacred quietness they’ve structured into their lives. They pour out their heart to Him, He listens. He speaks to them of His truths and fashions their hearts and minds to be in unity with Him. Hebrews 8:10-11

Imagine if more people engaged God in this quiet, attentive, and intimate space. If more people did, more would.  People would see the provision, blessing, joy, peace and rest in the lives of those who had spent years seeking, and would know this intimacy of knowing God was the path to their deepest needs and desires. Yes, they would also see the intense spiritual struggle and angst the beginning of this path brings as the flesh-mind is transformed, but they also would see the results of the struggle; a new spirit of love, power and sound mindedness. 2 Timothy 1:7

People wouldn’t be able to excuse this “blessed” life as someone who is, “lucky”, “one of those fortunate types”, or “special”, because many souls of various walks of life would have similar results. They would know the Spirit of God was the common thread being woven throughout these people’s lives and it could be in their lives as well.

But the multitudes don’t seek God.

Why don’t people seek God?

Why don’t many of those who profess to love God not even spend this sacred time with Him each day?

The surface excuse is often not enough time, but the real reasons go much deeper.

Battle of Spirit and Flesh

The fundamental reason is God is Spirit and all you do in drawing near to Him involves the Spirit, and the Spirit and flesh are in opposition. Galatians 5:17 In this context, the Spirit is what is of God and the flesh is what is of mankind’s self-will. The flesh is the mind and it’s production of self-created value, idols, and philosophies in which humans trust and act. If your mind is sown in the will and truths of God, you are spirit-minded giving life to the spirit. If your mind is sown in will of mankind, his “wisdom” and philosophies, you are flesh-minded selling your soul to destruction.

Because this world is under the sway of the evil one who is ruler and instigator of the flesh mind, everything of this world (worldly systems, ideas, wisdom, etc) is of the flesh and counters the Spirit, particularly our seeking God in truth and spirit. 1 John 5:19 The flesh-mind is promoted and prevalent in every dimension of life. It governs, distracts, deceives, consumes, and thus owns most people’s souls.

Here is a sampling of the mindsets of the flesh-mind contrary to seeking God, ones I experienced prior to entering into God’s kingdom. Romans 8:5

  • Our choices, path, decisions and methods are sufficient, so don’t need to really seek God’s truth or wisdom.
  • Life with God would be less ______ (fill in the blank).
  • We will suffer loss if we trust God.
  • We are fine as we are, as we put following self-will above God.
  • Unity with God is NOT what we truly desire, but for us to play god choosing what is good and right for our lives by our “wisdom”.
  • The world’s ways offer deliverance, desirous fulfillment, and happiness, and God’s ways do not.

Most of these reasons for not drawing near to God we don’t admit, even to ourselves. I didn’t. When it came down to the reality of my day to day living, I clung to the flesh-mind because I embraced the lies, which kept me in the pit and in the self-created prison of my mind.

Matthew 16:25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

The ability to overcome the flesh-mindset, which consumes this world thus our minds, came when enough truth entered my mind to bring an awareness of the depravity that consumed my life. Realizing the paths I’d chosen were not leading me to where I desired, even at a superficial level, I was motivated to seek God, truly, for the first time.

When a spark of truth shines into our souls and awakens us to the reality that what we’re doing isn’t working, when we feel we have suffered enough, exhausted other pathways, and are tired of running in circles after things that don’t fulfill, then we listen to the spirit’s prompting and make time to seek God. John 3:8 Though we still have much doubt, we venture to the realm of God’s truth by His grace.

Embarking on this journey is similar to a sick person getting healthy. When people’s health degenerates so that death is knocking at the door and a voice inside drives them to fight and not let death enter in, then they make a change. They could have chosen the path of health long before and enjoyed years of vitality, but didn’t. They let themselves physically deteriorate to the point of kissing death.

Many do this spiritually. We have to come to a precipice of wanting to give up our self-will, and be consumed by God’s. So, we deteriorate until our soul comes to a breaking point and something in us calls us to God, then we start seeking God as He instructs us. Matthew 6:33 It’s at this moment we are deeply blessed because our lives shift to a path that will bring spiritual life and thus what we have unknowingly deeply sought and desired.

Initially in seeking God persistence is required, even in the awareness of our depravity, as the flesh continues to war against the spirit. Here is where many give up, and the flesh wins. God is spirit and as we draw near, there will be a battle as we are dominated by the flesh. For those who persist, some days are better than others, but it’s a struggle to be consistent and persistent. Like getting physically healthy, each day you don’t see much improvement but over time as you persevere you reap the rewards. Matthew 7:14

In time, the powers shift in our soul and the flesh is subdued by the growing spirit of truth within. We come to know and drink of the fountain of life and cross a point of never turning back. Our sacred time with God each day becomes a delight and feast for our souls. We enjoy an everlasting and ever deepening intimacy that prepares our soul to become the temple of God. We become spiritual beings crafted in and by the Spirit of God.

I pray you are one of those souls. Matthew 13:23

Matthew 11:5 “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Verses for Meditation

Ecc 2:26 For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Psalm 1:2-3 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

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.

Matthew 6:32-33 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


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The True Sabbath Rest

The True Sabbath Rest

God saves and His Word sanctifies. John 17:17 Our part in this redemption and renewal is to believe in His Word, truth and promises. When we do (which is faith), we truly rest. Thus faith precedes true rest. You can’t rest without faith, thus the importance of gaining truth, which leads to faith. Romans 8:12

Here is the balance … our good works don’t sanctify us, God does. The true good works testify to our sanctification.

Because most of us struggle with sanctification without works, God designed a potent instruction tool, the Sabbath. God established the law of the Sabbath as a picture and foreshadowing of entering into this ultimate rest. On the Sabbath the Israelites were commanded not to do any work. The consequences of not honoring this day were severe. In Numbers 15:32-36, on the Sabbath, a man was gathering sticks; a seemingly low effort and harmless task. His penalty? Death. The Sabbath law was not to be taken lightly. Exodus 31:14

God established this day to teach and remind us that He sanctifies us and not our works. “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.” (Ezekiel 20:12) If we try even with the smallest effort, like picking up sticks, we are going against the will of God. This requirement of rest pointed to Christ who would be our eternal rest and free us from having to earn our righteousness by the law. He, the Word of God, became our rest and when He dwells in us, we become holy. We are to accept what He has done and rest in grace. We all fall into the performance trap, but the question is in what race are we trying to run, of works or grace? Yet, grace doesn’t negate obedience, it leads to it. If we have the truth we will live by it, but not because we are trying to become righteous. We already are, but because it’s life, unity with God, truth and love. It’s who we are because we are in Christ and have the mind of Christ. True obedience is the result of Christ is in us.

From the severity of the consequences of the Sabbath Law, we can see how important learning and abiding by this truth is to God. It’s critical to our spiritual survival to rest from attempting to earn our righteousness. If we try to live by the law then that is how we will be judged. If we break one iota then we have broken it altogether and we are accountable. The man who picked up sticks was put to death. It’s all or nothing. And no one can fulfill the whole law. We are human and we will fall short. This path, which the majority of the world attempts to walk, has one end, death. If your hope is in being a good person, good luck. Conversely, if we live by grace then we are judged by grace, and we abide in freedom and perfect assurance of our salvation and sanctification.

Most of us trust Christ with saving our souls but when it comes to sanctification we intervene. If the core motivation to our actions is to earn a high ranking in His kingdom or make us more worthy then our trust is in the wrong place. It’s clear by the consequences of breaking the law that God doesn’t tolerate us attempting to sanctify ourselves. Resting means we trust God to sanctify us alone. When we rest, our trust is fully in God, not ourselves.

Before I have to you completely shaking in your flip flops, let me remind you God’s mercy abounds to those who seek to trust Him. God knows that believing is a process because He created it that way. But are you working to believe in His work in you or are you busy earning your worthiness?

Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law, but what about the instructions of the New Testament? The Word tells us love others, pray for others, and use our gifts for the benefit of those around us. Christ fulfills these too by working in and through us. We have tremendous freedom, dear friend. This rest is the simplicity, beauty, and grace of the gospel. These instructions are the work and fruit of His Spirit within us. They are the results of being attached to the vine, Christ. These actions pour out of our souls when the Spirit is in us thus it’s not of our own efforts. A tree doesn’t work to gain fruit. It’s the outcome of the roots being in rich soul. Good works don’t come from our efforts; they are the results of us abiding in Him, stirring the deep, and Him working in us. The instructions of the New Testament are the fruit that we should see sprouting up in our lives because we are in Christ. Our part is to rest in what He will do in us in His timing as we abide in truth. Our work is to believe. John 6:29

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

When we are truly abiding in Christ Jesus, our motives aren’t to earn anything; we do what we do because that is our desire coming from His Spirit within. We do what we do out of love. Dwelling in this truth keeps our motives pure. Pride and haughtiness remain at an arms length because it’s of Him and not us. It’s to our shame if we trade our glory that should be in God for glory in our works. He is our confidence not what we do.

The constant temptation is to prove, earn or work because it appeases our needs to feel worthy and good. Our worth and goodness are defined solely in Christ. Our focus is to be on abiding in His truth, and fruit, sown in love, will be the outcome. Further, we can’t be hung up on some protocol of what a follower of God does because often God wants us doing something else at that moment. We are to follow His Spirit every moment, not what we think He wants, but what He is whispering in our ear.


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Elect, It’s Time to Pray

Elect, It’s Time to Pray

Now, unlike any time before, is the time for God’s elect, those who are united to God in truth and spirit, to pray for the deliverance of the souls of others.

In Job 42, God had “accepted” Job because he saw his true self, and in that awareness he repented and turned to God. After coming through the refining trials and continuing to cling to God and the truth, Job finally saw God. He knew Him. Job 42:5-6 Because of the new spirit within Job, God told Job’s friends to go to Job and have him pray for them because He had “accepted” Job. Job 42:7-9 God would hear Job’s prayers.

Why have the elect pray on others’ behalves? They have traversed a journey like Job’s. Like Job, they have passed through the refining trials. As they’ve clung to the truth through them (very important element), they’ve come to a point of “seeing” themselves and God. This awareness has led to a deep repentance at their core, which has affected every area of their lives. As a result, their will is submitted to God’s, and they hold the Spirit of God, the spirit of truth, in them as a new creation. Their lives are a testimony to them of God’s spirit in them. 2 Corinthians 5:5

In being united to God, they abide in God’s truth and are constantly going deeper into it. They put it above all else. Psalm 138:2 They abide in it daily. They desire to obey the truth and be completely consumed by God. That truth in them has sanctified them and prepared them to be powerfully used by God. And because they hold God’s truth, they pray in unison with it.

Connection Between God’s Word and Prayer

Often people dismiss the connection between abiding in the Word of God (truth) and prayer. But the two go hand in hand. If you turn from God’s truth then your prayers lack power. In Proverbs 28:9 it says they not only lack power, but they are an abomination. One, truth reveals who you truly are and who God is. Only when you honestly know both can you repent of one and turn to the other. Two, if you don’t seek and abide in truth then you don’t know God for He is truth. So if you don’t truly know God, who are you praying to? 1 John 5:19

Once through the refining trials and filled with God’s spirit of truth, a person’s prayers have tremendous power. In Revelation 19, Christ, called the Word of God, comes with His saints to conquer. His method of conquering? The sword that comes out of His mouth; His Word, truth. God’s words have power. By them He creates and destroys. Those filled with His Word, hold its power. May we not underestimate the power of it and neglect the Word and the significance of prayers spoken in line with it.

Now God is very merciful. Truth and mercy go hand in hand – thank goodness. Someone who is seeking God in truth, but immature in their understanding of the God and His ways as they progress through the refining trials, probably aren’t praying in line with God’s will. They are unknowingly praying against God’s will, and they don’t really know what is good. But their heart is to know God and their seeking testifies to that fact. Graciously, the Holy Spirit prays on their behalf as they don’t know what to pray. This is why at times they feel their prayers aren’t answered. God isn’t answering them as they expect because of His love. If He did ramifications would be harmful. This is what Satan does, he gives someone what he superficially wants yet it’s to his destruction. God gives you what is best for you, and as you learn in time it’s what you truly desire.

As a young believer continues to abide in the Word and the instruction of the Holy Spirit, they come to better understand God’s will and pray more in line with it, though the Holy Spirit is always interceding to some degree for God’s people because there is always more to learn.

Conversely, for those who have willingly NOT abided in the Word, their prayers lack power. They’ve been misled by false teachers and religious doctrine that abiding in the Word and diligently seeking God by feasting on His truth daily isn’t that important. As a result their prayers are without strength no matter how good they may appear. Matthew 7:22-23 (Though God still shows them mercy in their lives.)

Powerful prayer comes from knowing God and being united to Him in truth and Spirit. It’s then that your heart, mind and spirit are truly united to Him.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

Call To The Elect

In Revelation 11, the two witnesses (the two groups of believers, the two lampstands whose light wasn’t removed, who aren’t bound by local institutions, denominations, or titles) stand before God. Their words have tremendous power. Revelation 11:5-6 They intimately know God. They know His truth. They walk in it. They’ve been purified by it. John 17:17. They’ve honored God’s command by doing what He has instructed; know Him, seek Him, abide and mediate on His pure Word that comes from Him. Revelation 2-3 Thus their words and prayers have tremendous power.

God is calling these elect to pray on others’ behalves. They are able to pray in a power and a manner that those consumed in darkness (lies and deception) cannot. God is using them to deliver many because of His great love for ALL His children. God is longsuffering, patient, and waiting for people to truly repent from following self and turn to Him. He doesn’t want any to perish. Because it’s God who saves, prayers are needed by those accepted by Him to pray to have mercy upon souls bound in darkness. Revelation 6:10-11

Do you see the difference of the power of those who are truly of God, who have His Word abiding in them, and who pray in line with His will? In God’s holiness, God’s elect need to pray to an extent that others cannot. Now is the time to pray; to pray for God’s truth to penetrate others’ lives, for their souls to be united to God’s in truth and Spirit, and for God to have mercy.

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another (and forsake them), and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.


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Are YOU Ready?

Are YOU Ready?

As the end is drawing very near, each one of us needs to ask ourselves a very serious question, Are WE Ready? 2 Corinthians 13:5 Do we have the oil in our lamp so we’re prepared when the Bridegroom comes? Matthew 25:1-12 Are we a wise virgin with the knowledge and truth of God, or a foolish one lacking understanding and wisdom? Are we one to whom Christ’s return will come as a thief in the night or are we one who will know of His return? 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4

Oil in the Bible is equated to the Holy Spirit. The lamp is our soul. Matthew 5:14-16 Do we have the oil of the Holy Spirit that brings the true light and life of Christ within us; our guarantee we are His? Christ Jesus is coming for His Bride; those who are ready to be united to Him in truth and spirit. Like an earthly bride, there are preparations required. We need a spirit prepared to be united to Him.

How do we know that we have the Holy Spirit who is given as a guarantee and we are ready? 2 Corinthians 5:5 (Hint: it’s not just about speaking in tongues, which can easily be manipulated by deceptive spirits) There is MUCH deception these days around the filling, anointing and presence of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives. How do we know that we haven’t been deceived into thinking we have the Spirit when we don’t, falsely promised by others that we do, and have a spirit of deception in His place? 2 Corinthians 11:4

We look to the Bible for our answers. 2 Corinthians 5 is a helpful chapter on the evidence one should experience in their lives when they have the Holy Spirit.

Evidence of Holy Spirit within You

First, you are taught by God. God Himself prepares your soul for Him. (vs. 5). Jesus is the Word. It’s the Word that sanctifies you. John 17:17 This preparation of God entails you diligently abiding in the Bible, the Word, and seeking the Spirit of God to instruct and teach you in who He is, in truth and your union with Him. John 6:45, 1 John 2:27 It’s allowing the truth to penetrate your life in molding, changing and setting you apart for Christ. He teaches you and His truth starts abiding in you altering your life.

Second, you obey God. (vs 9) When you have the Holy Sprit, it’s your aim (internal desire) to please God, thus obey Him. You seek in the Bible, being taught by the Holy Spirit, to know God’s ways and truth so you can walk in them. You are driven to know truth so you know you are pleasing God and not following the dictates of your own heart or following the ways of others. Matthew 15:8-9

Third, you fear God. (vs. 11) When the Holy Spirit dwells within you, you fear God in all areas of your life. You feel very accountable to Him, like a good child to a parent or a faithful employee to a tough boss. No one else has to hold you accountable to the things He tells you because you fear Him. Yes, others can point out your blind spots, but to what God has told you, you possess a strong will to do what God says out of a fear of going against Him. When HE tells you to do something you do it. Though you may have to war against you rebellious sinful flesh, the desire in your deepest self is to do what God has asked of you. It’s a desire to be obedient; therefore your choices will reflect that obedience. What you do will also be driven by love. Though you fear Him, you also know of His love for you. The course of your life shifts to align to His will. Again, you seek to know God’s will from Him and not from another because you want to be sure you are walking in truth and what HE desires, not being led astray by your own heart or someone else.

Fourth, you are a new creation. (vs.17) You start experiencing a deep change within. It feels like you’ve been given a new operating system that governs your body and soul. As a new creaiton, you are directed by God’s spirit and no longer your self-will. As the body and soul respond to the new operating system, you start to think, act and feel differently. Your desires change. Above all, your will longs to be in unison with God’s will.

Fifth, you experience fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Because these are fruits of the Spirit, it comes from the Spirit and not your self-imposed efforts. The occurrence of these fruits in your life comes from a place beyond yourself and what you use to know and do.

So are YOU ready by these measurements?

IF NOT, FEAST upon the pure bread of heaven; the Bible taught to you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. Seek the truth from Him as you abide in the Bible. Read with the motive to know God and to draw near to Him as someone you love in truth and spirit. This seeking and abiding is the path to being prepared for the soon coming Bridegroom.

The manifestation of all these points is a process. Though you may feel a lack in some of them, are you growing in them? Are you experiencing them more today than three months ago? Are YOU diligently seeking God or are you leaving the seeking up to someone else, to only live off their efforts? It doesn’t work that way. The wise virgins couldn’t give their oil to the foolish ones. And when the foolish ones came back with their oil, the door was shut. Are you ready with your own oil?


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Obedience is Love

Obedience is Love

John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

What would you do for your children and grandchildren? What acts/behaviors would you do for their well-being, joy and safety? What would you do to be closely united to them? Why do you do what you do?

You do what you do, because you love them. This faithfulness to them is an act of obedience. It doesn’t feel like obedience because normally we associate that gritty word with acts we don’t want to do but should. But when it comes to our kids, we want to “do what’s right” because we love them so it doesn’t feel like obedience.

Now take that mindset and apply it to God. We desire to do His will because we love Him. When we know God to a certain depth; His truth, goodness, freedom, peace, rest, joy which are all consumed in love, then we want nothing more than to be united to Him. He is life. He is love. He is the home of our desires. He is our great reward. He is our portion. We desire as much unity as possible, so we strive to walk His paths (obedience) so that we walk with Him.

Love is based on truth; not assumptions or lies because then there is no true bond. It would be all imaginary. Therefore, an aspect of true love is we don’t assume we know what pleases another; we want to make sure we know, therefore we seek. We want to know what brings another joy and delight. We want to know what will foster a deeper purer union. When we do and we act upon that knowledge, then the union solidifies because we are walking within an oneness of will and mind.

When we truly love God or want to love Him, we desire to know Him and His will. We don’t want ignorance, fears or anything else to separate us from Him; therefore we seek. We long to be as close as possible to God even to walk in His footsteps. Therefore we seek the truth of His will in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit and walk in that will. It’s our utmost desire because of the love we feel.

How can we do what we don’t know? How can we know without seeking? If we truly are desiring unity with God we will seek to know Him. We will have a passion and hunger for His truth so we can walk in unity with Him.

As we draw near in truth, we begin to surrender to whatever God’s will may be because of His inherent perfection. We fight any compulsion to hold back because we’ve experienced and know His goodness. When you know His goodness and love, you can let go and trust.

Therefore, obedience is the fruit of love, or love in action. It’s the result of knowing God and His truth finding its home in our soul. If we are seeking a true union with God, then we will desire to obey. Our life will show the fruit of that obedience. Faith (belief in and love of God) without works (walking in His truths) is dead. If there is no fruit of walking in His truth, then the truth isn’t in us.

Salvation comes by grace. A testimony that we understand this gift given to us is obedience. Salvation came from God that we might be united to Him. If we aren’t fostering unity in cultivating a deep and real relationship, we missed the whole point of that saving grace. Our heart to walk the path of life that fosters unity with God reveals our understanding of the grace we’ve been shown. It isn’t self-imposed obedience that anyone could do that testifies to our awareness. It’s the flowing desire to want to obey and walk in God’s truth because that truth is in us. Heart-motivated obedience comes from God’s spirit within us.

If you feel resistance to walking in God’s will, then you simply need to know God deeper. When you seek to know Him with all your heart, soul and mind you will encounter His magnificent love and goodness and in return you will love Him and desire Him to a point of being consumed. Therefore to be united to God in love begins by seeking to know Him personally, deeply. God desires you to be in a bond of love with Him that deepens with obedience. Seek Him in truth by abiding in the Bible with the instruction of the Holy Spirit. As you draw near you will know and abide in His love. In time, you will desire to walk in His will because you know of His goodness and that doing so enhances your union with Him.

This obedience is the kind God desires; an obedience driven by love.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

John 15:10 “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.”