Living Light

Stirring The Deep


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Led By the Spirit of God

Led By the Spirit of God

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Last week, I discussed the Path of Salvation and how it’s not only knowing and believing in God, but becoming a part of God. God is life. When we are a part of Him, we have eternal life. Becoming a part of God involves seeking, hearing, and obeying for to be a part of Him is to become as He is. 1 John 3:2 This journey is working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Phil 2:12-13

Working out our salvation is walking the narrow way of truth. Matthew 7:13-14 It’s learning from God, then obeying as we are taught. When our thoughts, will, and desires are one with God, we are His sons and daughters because we are a part of Him. We reflect His nature, as a true son or daughter would. We mirror the result of His ways; His holiness, love, truth, mercy, compassion, and righteousness. If we are truly fellowshipping with God, we will see these characteristics expanding in our lives, as light expands to fill the darkness.

To be led by God means we are no longer led by our self will. It means learning God’s ways, then acting according to His ways and no longer our own. It means setting aside our judgments and letting Him judge. It means letting Him rule our lives. It means abiding in rest as God moves through us. It means seeking and listening; for how else will we know His will to live it?

This turning from our ways to follow His ways is repentance. Repentance occurs when we learn that God’s ways are better, thus they become our desire and passion. For example, God tells us to honor all people. 1 Peter 2:17 To each one of us, He will specifically direct us to what that looks like. He will teach us through our circumstances and in accordance with the Bible. As we listen and obey to His specific counsel to us, we experience the positive effects of walking in God’s truth. We each learn first hand His ways are far superior and in response our souls start to long for His precepts as we see the perfection and righteous love they possess. Psalm 63:1

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.”

Obedience, the core of repentance, is born out of love. His words are righteous love, thus as we know His words, we desire to walk in them. In repentance, our core passion changes from following self to following God, thus we have a love for the truth of God and our lives reflect that love.

It’s essential to understand the power of God as THE Teacher in our lives and the necessity for us to TRUST Him to be. Matthew 23:8 As we fellowship with God each day, He transforms us so that we are crafted in His truth. 2 Corin 5:17 This doesn’t happen when we listen to others talk about Him. In learning from God, we aren’t simply gaining knowledge of His ways; He transforms us by the power of His spirit moving in us as we commune with Him. This power is how we are able to walk as He leads. The power is available to us through His abundant grace. 2 Corin 9:8 Without His power working in us we couldn’t walk as He commands. Therefore, His commands aren’t burdensome. We desire them and live them by His power.

1 John 5:.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

As God teaches us, He transforms us, which enables us to walk as He leads. Ephesians 1:19

Through this process of seeking, listening and obeying, our lives start to manifest the qualities of God (His holiness, righteous love, peace, rest, power) because we are becoming a part of Him. As the kingdom of heaven matures within us, we experience abundant life. John 10:10 If we aren’t experiencing increasing abundant life, we are following the wrong shepherd.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,

Each of us has to walk our own narrow path. No one can do it for us. We each have to be taught, led and shepherded by God for those are the ones who become a part of Christ, the Word. John 6:45 Those are the ones who lay down their self will and ways and are transformed by the Truth. This is the path of salvation, thus eternal life, because it leads to a point of desiring to be completely consumed by God, who is life.

This narrow way of seeking, listening and obeying to a point of holy rest where God governs all is why many are called but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14 Most are governed by mankind’s doctrines, thoughts, opinions and ways and not God’s. Only God’s ways lead to eternal life. His words in accordance with His power purify us to a point of becoming one with Him. What Christ did was beyond powerful. He gave us the ability to possess the spirit of God that we might live in truth because His perfection can abide within us.

1 John 1:6-7 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

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


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Breaking the Mold

Breaking the Mold

 

Spiritual hunger, afflicted souls, unbound wounds, lack of wisdom, famished souls, and constant hardships; bondage seems to be increasing among God’s people.

There are several reasons for these troubles, but I want to address one many may have not considered. Plagues, pestilence, and famine are pronounced upon the House of God in the days of judgment, which I feel we are entering. Jeremiah 24:10 Therefore, it’s essential to examine in accordance to God’s truth our place in the church system (CS). Revelation 18:4 In the end, we are going to see a lot of turmoil in the house of God as the enemy, “Satan” (our deceiving self-will), takes over the sanctuary. Lam 2:7, Jeremiah 25:10 If we are in a place of the “father of lies”, our souls are in a perilous position. John 8:44

Why perilous? First, the CS is an anchor of trust for many people, which in these days is a dangerous place to put your confidence. Church should be like going to the in-laws for a Sunday brunch. We hang out, chit chat, disagree, and encourage. It no way should replace our marriage (our relationship with God). Yet for many, church and religious leaders have moved into people’s lives, where God should be reigning. They have to go or they feel guilt or unfulfilled. It is their spiritual nourishment, focus, and priority and for that they have fallen for the lies and their marriage has suffered.

Second, the Bible says a multitude of leaders will lead many astray by their unrighteous deception (lies posing as God’s truth). One of the most effective deceptive tactics is twisting God’s Word just enough. (A good reason to be leery of the recent Bible translations that are moving further and further from the original manuscripts.) If we are under a leader’s influence, who is knowingly or unknowingly given into lies, we aren’t giving our spirits much of a chance. If that is our trust and our place of truth, then we will fall prey to the deception. Jeremiah 23:16-17, 34, 40 A wolf in sheep’s clothing looks like a sweet, caring, innocent sheep, remember that.

God doesn’t want any to fall for this deception. He has given us what we need His truth – it is OUR LOVE for the TRUTH that will save us. But we need to take heed to it. 2 Thessalonians 2:10

Being in CS is one of those beliefs Christians rarely question, I never did. Because of the lack of questioning and the pressure to conform, people remain where they are despite what is happening in their spirit. They ignore or justify what they feel. However, there are a growing number of believers who are seeking greener pastures. Being prompted by the Holy Spirit and seeking the truth from God’s Word, they are leaving the CS. Not the true church, which they are actually are clinging more to and becoming. They are moving into the green pastures of God’s Word and into the true church. This move isn’t easy because of the pressure and other various reasons, but it’s the call on their hearts.

Inquire of God about your place in the CS and be willing to hear any answer. I recommend taking a break for 3-6 months from the CS and abide faithfully in God’s pure Word (like the KJV) every day to hear and discern His voice among the others. Seek to know and draw near to His heart, He’ll reveal it to you. If God is truly your trust and not the CS, you’ll be able to take a break. I suggest this because if you are seeking while under the influence of the father of lies you aren’t giving your soul much of a chance to really hear. Don’t think that you are stronger enough, deception is called deception for a reason. Seeking takes time as you read the books of the prophets who foretold these days (i.e. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Revelation), and trust God to teach you. He is an incredible Teacher. There is nothing more important, because it affects your soul and those around you. I once assumed that to be a Christian was to be in the CS. It was an error that kept me in deep bondage. God has taught me something quite different and it changed my life.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions like:

Why am I in the CS, really?

Have I really sought God’s will about it for today, the time we are in?

Do I go because of that’s what I do? That’s what others do? That is what a Christian does? Why do I think that? Because others say so, my pastor says so? Because it is God’s will? Have I really sought His will?

Have I read God’s pure Word seeking His will – and not only listened to a person’s interpretation of it?

If I were to stop going, how would I feel? Why do I feel that way?

Who do I really trust? To nourish, protect, counsel, and provide for my spiritual needs? The CS on some level?

Where does God really want me?

Do I make abiding in God’s Word a priority in my own quiet time?

God desires none should fall prey to deception. He has told us what to do, how to fight and now to conquer any harm that might come our way – a LOVE for His TRUTH is our guard and defense. But we must own it and act on it. We are to abide in it with faith and a heart to follow God’s truth and no one else’s. You have nothing to fear, if you are truly seeking Him and His truth in His pure Word.

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Another Lost Life, How Many More?

Another Lost Life, How Many More?

 

Another lost life, Chelsea King, how many more until we make the changes that will make a difference?

Along side many other San Diegians, last week my husband and I searched for Chelsea. Out for a run after school, she never returned home. While we were out searching, another search team found her shoe that was the key the authorities needed to find the shallow grave where her battered 17 year old body laid. Abducted and murdered. John Gardner, who’s DNA was found on her clothing, was arrested. It was incredible to see how many people were giving their time and energy to search for this young girl. We yell at each other in traffic, cut each other off, hold a me-first mentality, but when worse came to worse – we were willing to help each other. But we need to do more and to act sooner. We need to understand how we all are connected and the influence we each have on the society as a whole.

Who is responsible?

I kept thinking about this question and how it falls onto us all . . . here are some of my thoughts.

John Gardner seems to be the one who is directly responsible – but what struck me very intensely – he doesn’t stand alone in Chelsea’s death and others like her. We are all connected. We all influence one another, and this truth is something we don’t seem to be getting. Though John Gardner is clearly mis-wired in his head and is under investigation for a horrific act that the majority of society wouldn’t do; we, society, have created a breeding ground that feeds minds like his. When we feed our thoughts, then they grow, strengthen and become reality. Society feeds sexual perversions and sexual degeneration in many ways that not only supports what he did, but damages many “normal” minds as well.

Who is responsible? Knowing we are all connected and influence each another, there is a network of thoughts and behaviors that help foster minds like John Gardner’s. . . in my opinion here are some of them in which you can see the connection between them. And I found actions of my past (and not so distant past) fall among them. When I considered how I’ve played a part in something so horrific, the gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ who born my sin hits hard once again.

Who is responsible?

Everyone involved in the pornography industry – from actors, to camera men, to buyers of the magazines. The pornography industry is one of the most destructive entities. When people give attention to porn, it is like pouring acid on their minds altering the way they think and feel toward others. It doesn’t value or respect men or women. It’s communicating how men and women, especially women want to be treated. And for those who let their thoughts settle onto the images, the feelings created provoke them to action. They what to engage in similar behaviors because of the feelings it creates. But those feelings are without love and therefore destructive. The feelings lack respect, and are full of selfish domination. What it is creating in someone is a monster who doesn’t act out of love but lust, greed, and domination. Once you open your mind to thoughts without love, you are inviting in all sorts of evil.

Who is responsible?

What about the parents who led their children to those types of lifestyles? A girl I know used to be in the porn industry. Growing up her dad had Playboy magazines laying around the house. What message was her father sending her? Not that this was the only thing that caused her to do what she did – but it probably played a part. Our actions make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

Who is responsible?

What about those who dress to create lust, those who willing gaze at them, and those who have promiscuous sex to be loved and accepted? Beyond Playboy, when men gawk at scantly dressed women, what message is it sending to women, wives, girlfriends, and daughters? It says that to be loved and accepted, this is what they need to do, this is who they need to be to some degree. So that is what we see happening. First, we see women and many young girls dressing in the next closest thing; short shorts, skirts even shorter, and plunging necklines. What message does that send to men? What thoughts does that provoke and feed? Women and girls dress this way to get the attention of men. Do they really understand what they are communicating? Second, they have promiscuous sex because they feel this is what they need to do to be love and accepted – to be like those images men so desire. Now many don’t consciously think this – but it is what is happening on a subconscious level.

Women and young girls partake in these acts when their self-esteem is low, but engaging in them actually just makes their self-value lower because these acts counter respect. Though they may have a temporary high of being “liked” it’s a like that doesn’t come from respect and love – therefore not the type of “like” we want but one that destroys. Seventy percent of our communication is unspoken. Take away the words – what are these women and young girls really saying? They are saying I have no self-esteem, if this is what I have to do for you to like me I’ll do it regardless of what it does to me and others. Yet, the world fools them into thinking that doing these things is strong and powerful. But the messages these women and girls are really sending are what the John Gardners of the world feed upon.

One note on dress, it’s not about being a prude. You can look great without dishonoring yourself or others with your dress. Bottom line, everything we do should be grounded in love – including our dress. Our dress should be about respect and love – loving yourself, other women and men. There is place to dress otherwise – for your husband when it is you and him. But otherwise, when dressing to create lust in men, to pull their eyes away from their wives and girlfriends, and to devalue yourself by showing your desperation all you really create is pain and damage to yourself and others, not love.

Who is responsible?

Where do all these fashions come from in the first place and who is promoting them? What about the media – television shows, music, and celebrities who feed these images and ideas that scantly dress is a glorious thing, that promiscuous sex is desirable, and that women want to be dominated and treated like crap. The list can go on and on. We are all connected. We all influence each other in a tremendous way. Do you see how this is all connected? Most of people’s actions aren’t one day good then another bad – it is a gradual process as the wrong thoughts are fed.

The problem in society is a lack of true love. What happened with Chelsea is one of the many destructive behaviors that occur when we turn our back on God’s way – because His ways are true love. When we go against Him, following our wayward desires then all we create is destruction and pain. And society often supports this waywardness. It has re-labeled what love is and in doing so has labeled what is death as life and what is life as death. Society is creating a place that is growing all sorts of perversions filled with pain and death – spiritually and physically. May we open our eyes so that we cease being fools to its hideous endeavors in giving into its deception because we are killing our children – literally.

Who is responsible?

Yes, John Gardner is, but look at how society supported his thoughts to manifest into what they did.

If you are tired of hearing about lives like Chelsea, then examine your life. See how you are contributing to this breeding ground that society has created to feed thoughts that are destructive to us all. What are you influencing? What do we not stand up for? What are you creating in others with your actions? It is a very sobering reflection – it as been for me. In examining the ways I’ve dressed, the attitudes and ways of life I’ve supported, and so on, I can see my destructive contribution. We each influence the whole and it starts with our thoughts. Our thoughts are everything. They create our reality. 1 Corinthians 10:24

A note to the women and young girls, I believe we hold the biggest part in making a difference. Imagine if we acted differently how different this world would be? Our relationship to men is to be symbolic of our relationship to God. Our relationship to men and women is to be about true love. We need to be connected to God so that we know what is truly love, because He is love. Without Him all we create is massive destruction. We need to show that love in our actions – in how we treat our souls and bodies.

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Sowing & Reaping or Mercy

Sowing and Reaping

or Mercy

There is an interesting interplay between reaping what you sow and mercy in the life of a follower of Christ that I’ve been thinking about this week . . . here are some of my thoughts.

Reaping what you sow (often called karma in the secular world) is about cause and effect. Mercy counteracts reaping in not getting the negative consequences for what we sow.

In Christ Jesus, our foundation is in mercy, not karma. (One note, mercy is a part of karma, if we give mercy we receive mercy, however God gives us mercy unwarranted by our actions. So for this post I’m integrating the dynamic of mercy into the cause and effect playing field.) When we are in Christ Jesus, we are righteous in the eyes of God as all that Christ is covers us. God’s love toward His children is what it is because of Christ not because of anything we earn. We don’t and can’t earn His love and righteousness. We don’t deserve it but we have it in Christ – it isn’t about karma but mercy. God’s mercy is ours because we are His. His mercy can’t be dependent on us. We have nothing to offer. Our insufficiency is why we need it in the first place. His mercy is His never ending gift to His children that flows into every area of our lives.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Deuteronomy 6:10-11 So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant–when you have eaten and are full–

However on another level as God’s children we live with Him in truth or against Him. We seek His face and draw near or not, and our choice will have a tremendous impact in our lives. It is the difference between thriving in the Kingdom of God and wallowing in a mud hole at the Kingdom’s gate. And it is this area that we play a part in reaping what we sow. If we don’t nurture and take time to foster a relationship with God then our lives will reflect that. We will lack depth in experiencing His mercy, love, provision, protection, comfort, joy, peace, and power because we are trusting someone other than Him – because we are following our will not His. Psalm 40:4 When we walk outside His will, then we will suffer the consequences even though we still experience much of His mercy.

We reap in mercy. The way we reap what is truly good is by cultivating a relationship with God that is covered in mercy and not by trying to simply be good.

Our sowing should be focused on cultivating a relationship with God because that is the source of everything in our lives. Generally when we hear about having good karma in the world’s definition of it, it means actively choosing to act good so that goodness will come back to us. In my opinion, the focus of the idea of karma is off in that it focuses on being good to get goodness. No one is good but God. The only goodness comes from Him. When we focus on cultivating a relationship with God, the result is the fruit of His goodness in our lives. Life and all that is truly good comes from being surrendered to God’s will. And surrendering to His will occurs as we seek His face with all our heart, soul and mind. There are many opinions about what good is and isn’t and only true good comes from God. Therefore only by being deeply connected to God can we experience it in our lives. All other “goodness” is a copycat that leads us down the wrong path.

To try on our own to live a good life outside of God only creates death. Often society labels things good that aren’t, and the lies destroy many people’s lives. Only in God is there life; for He is life. When we sow a relationship with Him and nourish our spirit born of Him, then our lives start to become consumed with His presence – all that is good and of abundant life. In Him, God leads us to live according to His will. If we follow His lead and heed His instruction, then we will reap the fruit of it, but it is Him in us, not us.

Living as a follower of Christ is about cultivating a relationship with God so that we live according to His love moving through us. Every command of God comes down to love – true love. When we are abiding in Him, we want to do His will because we love Him, not because we “should” do this or that. Our part is to trust God’s power working in and through us. And that trust comes from stirring the deep or cultivating a deep and real relationship with God. He doesn’t ask us to be super Christians, but to excel at depending on Him and His mercy. We are nothing apart from Him. We will never obtain His promises of abundant life if we are trying to gain them in our strength by simply being good. That is a lie that has lead many astray. Striving results in a lack of fulfillment of His promises because we are trusting in our strength instead of His loving kindness and work in us. Ephesians 2:10 Our part of sowing well is to take time to develop a relationship with Him and He does the rest through us and what we reap we reap in mercy.

Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness (life in Christ); Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Philippians 1:11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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The Ultimate Beauty Secret

The Ultimate Beauty Secret

 

Here is what the Spirit has been teaching me this week. And this one is for the MEN as well!

People hold different images of what beauty is and true beauty comes in many varieties. In my opinion, true beauty isn’t just about outward appearances. The outward appearance can be very deceiving about the true self. True beauty moves from inside to out. The inside and outside are connected. A huge mistake in this society’s wisdom is that it too often tries to separate the two and deal just with the outside (medications, diets, surgeries etc). If you want outward changes focus inward because when we attend to the inside then the outside will follow.

True love is the defining element of true beauty; love of God, others and yourself. Yes yourself, because you can’t truly know the love of God and not have a love for the creation He made and loves, you. I realize this can be a slippery slope – this love of self – because it can be be a negative false love in terms of narcissistic, self-absorbed and so on. But when the love of self comes from the love of God it is as it should be.

What is the ultimate beauty secret? Love. And how do we gain this true love of God? Stir the Deep, the one thing that changes everything else. I know I say this is the answer to everything, but I have found in my life that to be the case. When I read Matthew 6:33 – I decided to live it. And found it to be true. As we draw close to God in truth and abide in His Word as a bride (what I call stirring the deep), our spirits born of Him grow and strengthen in us. As a result we become more united to Him, and His love, truth and wisdom fill our beings – our thoughts, actions and lives. Many “issues” that we have, which resulted in broken down bodies and a lack of care for ourselves, are resolved as we draw near to Him in truth. It isn’t an instant process by any means. But it is the only path to true life.

When our spirits are NOT rightly connected to God– then this is what we see:

Destructive stress, bottled up resentment and bitterness, festering anger, jealousy, emotional pain, lack of self-worth, envy, unforgiveness, endless worry, and the list goes on. These things eat away at our lives destroying them. They wreck havoc in our spirits thus our bodies. All these affect us starting inward moving outward. For them we eat too much or not enough. We live with stress, lack of balance, harmful addictions and habits, and self-loathing. We don’t take care of ourselves. We treat ourselves worse than we treat our cars. We make poor decisions, which leads to more problems. What’s happening in our physical bodies is often a result of what’s happing inward. Our spiritual health affects our physical health and treatment of ourselves.

When our spirits are rightly connected to God and anchored in His love this is what we see:

As we learn the truth about us, God and others, the jealousy and envy flee and instead we enjoy uniqueness, freedom, and joy in which we flourish. We experience the love of God which gives us a love for God, others and ourselves, which affects how we attend to each one of these. As we understand our value as His cherished creation and child, we start to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves with respect, which spreads to others. From the wisdom gained, we make good decisions in all areas of our lives and the self-destructive behaviors and habits dissipate. As our relationship with God grows, our trust in Him expands and the stress and worry wane and balance, rest, peace, courage, and power increase. As we experience His mercy, forgiveness floods our hearts and resentment, anger and bitterness flee.

We start to live as the new creation that we are in Him – and that changes everything.

Our lives are governed by our spirit – our thoughts, words, actions, reactions. When our spirits are rightly connected to God, then we live as we were created and God created us very good. Everything is affected by our relationship with God. If you are wanting to make outward changes in your life – start inward with your relationship with Him – because then your efforts won’t be in vain. What we need is a daily diet of God’s Word.

Proverbs 4:22 For they (God’s Words) are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

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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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Does Your Life Exalt God?

Does Your Life Exalt God?

 

Hosea 11:7 My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him.

Calling upon God is easy. Exalting Him isn’t. Exalting Him means we truly believe and act on the truth that He is God, sovereign in all situations, loves us deeply and passionately, and has power and might in all our circumstances. That He is Almighty God, Creator, Deliver, Protector, Provider, and Comforter. That He is our everything. That His Word is true and we show our belief by living and speaking it with conviction.

How many of us truly live by these truths? How many of us truly believe He is who He says He is to us? What do our actions show? Who are we attributing power, strength and influence to in our lives? Who are we truly honoring? Whose truth are we living by? Whatever or whoever is the answer to these questions is who we exalt.

We exalt God when we look to His wisdom and not the world’s. Whether our health, job, finances, relationships, or anything else in our lives, there is a way and wisdom of the world and there is His. Whichever we seek and trust is what we exalt.

Giving into worry, living in fear, succumbing to discouragement and despair, dwelling in anger and resentment, and taking a passive stance in life are a few of the signs that we aren’t exalting God. Though some more than others, we all experience these emotions. We experience them because we don’t trust Him and we don’t trust Him because we lack a deep intimate knowing of Him.

Therefore the path to exalting God with our lives is one of drawing near. When we cultivate an intimate relationship with God in truth, then our faith grows and these symptoms, which arise out of a lack of faith, start to dissipate. It isn’t instant, but a process over years as He takes center stage in every area and in every way. Our part is to constantly draw close to Him. Learn about Him and His ways. Listen to Him. When we do the natural outcome is trust – and when we trust we exalt.

Examine your own life. What or who are you honestly exalting in the various areas of your life?

It is a constant temptation for all of us, battling the world’s pull on our beliefs and trust. The world bangs at our door calling out to us to trust in its schemes and philosophies about what leads to a good life. True life on every level is found in God.

I want to exalt God with my entire life. So I am going to continue to draw near to Him in truth, in His Word so that my confidence will grow in Him. And I chose to dwell and meditate on His truth not this world’s philosophies. Freedom and power flood our lives when we trust Him. I have tasted these gifts in my life and it compels me to keep pushing into a deeper union with Him; a union where He is exalted above all else.

Psalm 21:13 Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power


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Psychology and Faith

Psychology and Faith

 

People fascinate me. I enjoy learning why people do what they do and that is why I got a masters degree in Psychology. Psychology, the study of human behavior, offers many interesting theories and paradigms to people’s behavior so they can predict behavior as well as alter it. However, where it fails is to truly change people.

The world pushes us to become our own gods. We create our destinies, shape our futures, determine the outcomes, overcome our weaknesses, fix our problems, and are in control. We are who we are because of our decisions, our choices, our strengths, and so on. Therefore, become better, stronger, and smarter is the message of today. And with this philosophy, psychological frameworks have become a major force in helping us get there.

However, this philosophy is a lie. It is an endless run on the hamster wheel going no where. Having studied it in depth, psychology with all its answers and solutions is not the answer. It can tell us something is wrong, it can help us understand why we did what we did as mere men 1 Corinthians 3:3, but it is not the solution.

We are the problem. The problem can’t fix itself. All psychology and worldly wisdom can offer is band aids to the problems which weary us. They offer temporary moments of hope followed by despair.

The only answer is God, our Creator.

For the first 30 years of my life I acted like the creator taking on the philosophy of the world trying to shape myself into who I wanted to be. My goal was to move as far away as possible from the weak, pathetic, and broken person who caused so much pain and destruction. And these psychological philosophies promised the change I was looking for. But all they did was lead me further down a path of bondage and spiritual death. Sure there were moments I thought I was going somewhere, but when I stepped back, the things that really mattered got worse because I got worse.

A mind not taken captive by God’s word is a mind captive to death. 1 John 5:19

After all my efforts, nothing changed for the better. I was broken and need of someone much bigger to recreate me. In addition, I carried a tremendous burden because the repair work was all up to me, someone who in the stillness of my mind I knew didn’t have the power or strength to make me who I wanted to be.

If you are a self-help junky you will always be. Like a drug, you constantly need more books, tapes, and seminars to keep the high going and to convince yourself that you have found the answer. We hang on to the hope that the next page, book, or insight will be the final fix.

The day I threw away every self-help book and self-improvement tape and put my life completely in the hands of God trusting His work in me and the power of His Word was the day my life truly started to change because the new spirit in me started to grow. I will be honest, it was very difficult. I wanted to hold on to at least some books. They had been my hope for so long, even if they were an empty hope, it was hope.

Trusting God alone is completely counter to this world’s philosophies but it is the only true solution as I have discovered. Throwing out those false securities and trusting only in God and the power of His Word was one of the best decisions I ever made. I let go of the flesh and embraced the new life born of Him in me. And that life lives by faith, trust in His Word alone, and has no confidence in the flesh. This new life holds the characterstics that we all desire. Before I was running in circles, but since the Word became my source of truth, wisdom and life I have done nothing but moved forward. And it is a great feeling. Finally!

But these improvement offerings are so enticing for what they promise, a better life, a better you and all you have to is step 1, 2, 3. Its so easy!! But it doesn’t work. Not really. Not in the way we are seeking. It doesn’t bring what we all desire in life – unshakable value, meaning, purpose, satisfaction, peace, love, happiness and joy.

But the pull on us is like a tractor trailer. This past week a friend asked if I wanted to go to a class basically about being a better you. As I was getting lured in, I felt a hesitation in my spirit. Why are you going down that road again? You have travelled both paths and you know the only path to life is to completely trust God in this area. It was leaving that all behind when you started to find what you truly desired. What are you thinking?

You are right! What was I thinking? The wisdom of the world is foolishness. Many of the things this class promised were things that I strove to achieve and create in my life for years – purpose, meaning, right thoughts, and a better life. For the first time, these past couple of years all these have become a part of me and it is because all I did was abide in your Word and trust your work in me, not me. When I finally found the right path why would I want to stop and change direction? Thanks from keeping me from walking down that path again.

With this new year upon us, as we set high aspirations to become better and stronger all for God’s glory of course – let’s not forget how we are called to walk – in His wisdom not the world’s. And His wisdom says trust His work in you, abide in His Word, His truth sets you free, He works in your weaknesses, He is your healer, deliverer, power, and strength. He is the answer not the world’s psychology and wisdom. And the best part is He produces real lasting results and because it is His works and not yours He carries the burden. Our part; trust, rest and abide.

Here is the choice; work, strive and push for no true results, or trust, rest and abide for real lasting results?

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night 3 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.


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Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

 

The problem with this statement is there are no good people. Therefore, goodness doesn’t protect us as this phrase implies. I think this is the lesson in the book of Job: not that bad things happen to good people, but that no one is good in the eyes of a holy God so we shouldn’t rely on our perceived goodness. Mark 10:18

In the last chapter, I think the verses Job 42:5-6 reveal what the book is about “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” Why is Job repenting if he is blameless? Why does he abhor himself if he is one of the most upright men to live?

I believe he finally realized that his goodness and righteousness were nothing compared to a holy God. Instead, we are completely dependent on God’s mercy in every facet of our lives. It isn’t about our goodness because we have none. It is about God’s mercy that covers us. Psalm 33:13-22

The fact that we can never earn our goodness or be truly good is why Christ came. We need someone to stand in our place and do what we never could – fulfill the holy requirements of God. When we accept Christ we accept His life in place of ours. Then God sees us with the righteousness of Christ. It is an incredible sacrifice and amazing gift that affects every area of our lives now and for eternity.

People aren’t divided between good and bad since we all fall short whether feet, inches or centimeters. When we think of “bad” stuff happening, the division lies between those who are God’s people and those who aren’t.

Without God

For those without God in this world (Ephesians 2:12) they are susceptible to the whims of this world, a world governed by evil and death. (1 John 5:19) They suffer by the work of their own hands and by the ways of this world that breed death. Only God is life. Any life apart from Him manifests death despite people trying to convince themselves otherwise.

With God

For those with God, all that happens to them serves the purpose of drawing them closer to Him. Trials, afflictions or sufferings have the ultimate goal of moving us into a more intimate union with God built upon truth and love. God is constantly calling us deeper and deeper into Him. This is why we can sincerely praise God in our troubles, because they aren’t just fostering pain and suffering, they are bringing about newness of life that is united to Him if we are seeking God in them.

God doesn’t want us to remain in these troubled states that is why He promises deliverance from troubles, trials, and afflictions. Yet, difficult times, suffering, and afflictions, have a way of making us call out to God, to trust, to seek Him with passion and fervor in a manner we otherwise wouldn’t do. “Bad” stuff gets our attention, makes us seek, ask, and go deeper into Him and His truth where we find true freedom and deliverance. But for us the bad isn’t bad, it is good if we seek His truth in all things. (Romans 8:28) Even if we are experiencing the consequences of sin, those situations serve the purpose of motivating us to turn from our ways and to His. Only His ways bring life. Everything in our lives is a lesson and an opportunity to draw closer to God if we will seek Him and His truth.

Since God has been the center of my life, my Lord, everything that has happened has brought me closer to Him, which wasn’t the case before. Before I created paths of destruction piling up pain upon pain, now all that happens moves me further into abundant life inside out. Though difficult, hard times have a completely different meaning and purpose. Through them I learn that what I thought was life wasn’t. It was bondage. Then God brings me into true life.

This life isn’t about how good we are; it is about depending and trusting on God’s mercy alone and nothing of ourselves. When we do we will draw near to Him in truth as He desires and our lives will continue to move out from under death and destruction and into life and true abundance.


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What God is Offering Us

What God is Offering Us

 

Now that I am here in the midst of God’s presence enjoying His kingdom, it astounds me how deceived I was about this life and resisted it for many years. Fear kept me at an arm’s length. I thought my life would be boring, miserable and no fun. I thought I would be chained to should to’s and have to’s, and live a life of suffering, lack, discipline, regulations, because it was good for me. Therefore I wore a Christian shell. I didn’t want God that close.

Where did I get this impression? Mostly from churches and other Christians who wore a forced smile while their lives were miserable – it wasn’t very compelling. Despite what they said, I wasn’t convinced they had much to rejoice about, therefore I believed what God was offering outside of eternal salvation wasn’t that desirous. I made judgments about God based on man. Stupid and nonsensical I know, but most people, Christian and not, do the same thing.

After coming to several low points in my life, when I felt I didn’t have much to lose anyway, I decided to give God a try.  I found a life totally unexpected, nothing what I imagined and it had been waiting for me in the Word the whole time.

I had to look in the Word to find the truth, not others. Many churches and Christians portray a wanting life because they are living by manmade doctrines. Man’s ways bring death, God’s life. Just because someone says they are speaking God’s truth, doesn’t mean they are. Fear blinds us, misconceptions deceive us, and a lack of seeking keeps us in bondage.

The life He is offering to those who are willing to give up living their way and seek His is nothing but tremendous and desirous; a life of provision, protection, mercy, truth, peace, rest, joy and love. You don’t need hell to scare people into His arms. He is offering what everyone wants unconditional love. What God desires above all is love; to love us and for us to love Him. Mark 12:30 How incredible of a God is He.

Instead of hell fire that doesn’t foster love, but fear, what we need is truth about God and what He is offering us. Look at what God desires; freedom, love, rejoicing souls, overflowing joy, and sincere praise for all His goodness toward us. He doesn’t even want us to try to earn His affections with good works, but asks us to rest and trust His work in us. No other god is like Him.

Many believe this wonderful life is only on a spiritual level and in the physical realm we continue to suffer like everyone else. Believing this lie kills our witness and dishonors God’s love for us. My experiences don’t support that thinking and neither does His Word. It is replete with examples, physical examples, of how He desires to bless and does bless His people; healing sicknesses, restoring lives, delivering from fears and afflictions, providing for needs, and helping in troubles. He is all consuming. His care is very real and active in our lives, if we trust Him.

Believing God’s blessings are mainly spiritual not only kills our witness, dishonors God but also blinds us to what God wants to do in our lives. If our lives are lacking and yet we believe that is how life is then we never probe deeper. Our problems are to wake us up that something needs attending to. Manifestation of pain is the beginning to the path of freedom. Fears, troubles, and afflictions are to drive us to seek and draw near.

For example, learning His ways verses ours takes time. Often we think we are doing things His way when we are serving our manmade religion. When we serve the wrong thing we experience lack or discomfort because God is trying to get our attention that something is off.

Also, God tests us. We are going to be in situations that test what we really believe. Our finances will run low, we will struggle with an illness, and a relationship will be strained. God is asking; do you believe I am your provider, healer, and deliver? How we respond, who we go to, what we trust in will give Him our answer. Believing those things are just life, also gives Him an answer.

And then there is that a constant battle in our souls between our beautiful new spirit and our decaying flesh that gives heartache and frustration.

All these things cause discomfort, pain, and frustration but that is not were we are to stay, they are all opportunities to witness the power of God, to increase our trust in Him, and to draw near to Him in a way we couldn’t if we didn’t have them. If we accept them as life, we miss out on their purpose, to push us into the presence of God and to experience His mercy and love.

We have a constant hope which fills us with a deep lasting joy. God is on our side. When He is our trust we are victors. What gives God glory? Not defeated miserable lives, but triumphant ones and He has given us everything we need to be victorious, if we will surrender and do things His way. We are our own worst enemy, if we can learn to humble ourselves under His hand – we will find true peace and rest, then our lives will glorify Him.

For most of us, our lives aren’t reflective of the life God wants to give. The road is narrow and few find it, therefore, we can’t depend on others to show us what a life in God’s kingdom is about; we have to go to His Word, the pure Truth. When we read it with a heart to know and not prove our own philosophies or some else’s, we will discover the path of life.