I Am the One He Loves

There is something that has been burning in my spirit as of late.  There has been a stirring inside of me, a Holy Spirit stirring.

Not of the gifts, not of outward signs and wonders, but an unsettling of my status quo in my love relationship and friendship with God.  It seems that God is up to something in upsetting my comfortable place of friendship and relationship with Him.

There has been a whirlwind blowing in my heart, which is making me ask new questions and begin to look at my own personal and unique relationship with this man Jesus Christ.

As Holy Spirit has begun to stir my heart up in a new way concerning Jesus, I remember one recent day I was praying and I was asking Jesus what was it like for Peter and John to have known him in the physical, to have walked with him.  What would it be like to have a relationship with Him like theirs?

As I thought and prayed this, immediately I heard the Lord speak into my spirit and ask my “why would I want a relationship with him like theirs?”

As I thought on what he asked, it occurred to me as he continued to speak into my spirit that I have the opportunity to have a singularly unique and special friendship and relationship with Him.

As conceited or braggadocios as it may sound, from this experience I understood that the Lord was showing me that all the friendships and relationships he has had with men throughout the bible are no more or less special or captivating to his heart than my own.

It has begun to change my thinking of what is possible in MY relationship with MY beloved Jesus.  I think often we look at these figures in the bible and we think that if we try to compare ourselves to them as if we can have the same kind of intensity or level of relationship with God such as the likes Moses, Joshua or David, we think too much of ourselves.

That if we dare to presume that we can have the same type of intimate friendship and love relationship with Jesus as Peter, John, Paul or any of the apostles, we are presumptuous and have hubris if we compare ourselves to them and their standing before God.

My question is however, why not?  If there is nothing I can do to make God love me more or make him love me less, then our focus does not have to be on worrying about quantity.  Our focus should be on quality.

This has begun to change my prayer life and how I interact with Jesus and Holy Spirit.  I know Jesus and Holy Spirit love me and in return I also love them.  But beyond just loving them now my focus is shifting to what can I do to bring them joy?  How can I make their hearts jump with laughter and joy?  What is it I can do or say to them that specially catches their attention?

You see I am becoming jealous over my love for them, just as their love is jealous for me.

John had it right when he zealously regarding himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loves”.  What a confidence and declaration!  Furthermore, what less right do I have to make the same proclamation?

Is Jesus just Jesus or is he MY Jesus?  My desire is to live for Jesus and to interact with him and Holy Spirit as if I were His favorite, as if I were his ONLY love!

I look at the story of Enoch, where the bible tells us that He walked with God and he pleased God so much that God took him.

What was it that so greatly pleased God, what was his walk with God like?

I strive and purpose not for the same walk as Enoch, but to have such a connection to the heart of God that He notices me EXTRA specially!

I am moving into a new paradigm of thinking in how I can be connected to the Lord.  I am beginning to no longer see those examples of people in the bible that were friends and lovers of God as someone I can never aspire to be similar to.

I am now beginning to see them as examples of what is possible in my OWN relationship with God and while I am at it, why limit my relationship with him to only what they experienced?

Why can’t I demand and yearn for things even greater in my heart and connection with Jesus?

We don’t have to see this as a competition.  All that we want in terms of depth of love and friendship and relationship is available to us and all that we want to give to God, he will receive of us.

He is enraptured with us and he loves the individuality and uniqueness of each of us.  He created us to experience one of a kind love and connection to him and for him to receive and experience the same from us.

I can be motivated and inspired by the examples of those long past in the bible and their personal relationships and friendship with God, but I do not have to use them as a ruler or measuring rod, nor let them be a glass ceiling as to the possibility of what my own relationship and friendship with God can and will be.

So, from now on I want to live my life and have my friendship and relationship with God to be as if he and I have a special secret that no one else knows, that is just between him and me; that I am his favorite, that I am the one he loves.

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All Things Working Together

There is and always should be a relationship between the fruits of Holy Spirit and the gifts of Holy Spirit.

For the body of Christ, we know that Paul said we should desire the gifts but that we should pursue love.

1 Corinthians 14:1 (AMPC)

14 Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).

We must as the body of Christ be ever vigilant in creating, growing and maintaining a culture of honor and love if we want to see greater outpourings of the gifts of Holy Spirit and the glory of God inhabiting our personal lives and corporate settings of church services.

Those who believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit have always had inclinations to believe that expression of certain behaviors or demonstration of specific gifts that may seem odd to non-charismatic church goers are evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work.

As a personal believer in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I would agree that the gifts are definitely an outward sign that the Holy Spirit is present and serves as evidence of visitation by the Holy Spirit and an outpouring of God’s love and goodness.

In fact, I have an increasing zeal and hunger to see these gifts manifested with greater intensity and to see God’s spirit poured out more in an effort to experience greater measures of His love and glory!

In measuring the movements of God in the church, this however, is what I like to think of as a “short interval” measuring rod of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the gifts and manifestations are something we may experience ongoing, frequently and very open and publicly.

There is also a more subtle and often sidestepped and certainly left out of the spotlight yardstick by which we must also measure the presence and outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

This measuring rod is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (AMPC)

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

In truth if we want to see greater legitimate measures of the former, we must position ourselves in a place of humility and allow the latter to be birthed in us understanding that we cannot produce them in of ourselves –  to be completed in us it has to be birthed by the Holy Spirit.

As pastors, it is ever so important to keep a watchful eye that these essential fruits are present, thriving and abundant in the church and not see them as merely an individual checklist for believers to take care of on their own.

If we don’t see the evidence of these fruits both individually and corporately, as both the body of Christ and as leaders we should be alarmed.

In fact, I believe personally that one of the quickest ways to see the manifestations and expressions of the gifts disappear is to neglect pursuit of the fruit of the Spirit.

Fruit is an interesting thing.  It grows on a tree or a bush that is plentiful.  Fruit generally serves two main purposes:

  1. To reproduce the life inside of it, allowing for a greater expansion of the species of fruit.
  2. To be a source of food to others, selflessly giving its body to be consumed for the benefit and health of another.

As I ponder that, it makes me immediately think of Jesus and what he did for us:

He gave himself to be a source of life for us, going to the cross selflessly giving his body for our benefit and health.

Then he also put the seed of His life inside of us, so that we could go forth sharing that seed, casting it onto good ground in order to produce more fruit.

It is wonderful to explore the vast and great qualities and facets of God and how they all work together to bring forth his will and his kingdom through partnership with us.

We have to as believers not allow ourselves to become singularly focused or confined to carnal or more importantly religious thinking in our pursuits of God, but to be stretched to have the mind of Christ.

The four creatures and angels in the throne room constantly cry Holy is the Lord God almighty as they receive fresh and new revelation of the attributes and character of God and His holiness, righteousness, love, goodness and justice.

As His beloved, we must resist the urge to camp around a movement, a gift, doctrine or singular revelation.

We must be free and fluid to the ongoing and fresh revelations Holy Spirit wants to give us about the truths of Jesus Christ.

Like fresh manna, we need continuous fresh and new revelation of the heart of God what He is doing and how we are a part of that.

We have to continue to open ourselves to have freedom for even greater depths of wisdom, understanding, revelation and relationship daily.

Ultimately we want to embrace completeness of what God wants to accomplish in and through us.

All of these things are designed to work together for a greater relationship with God and with each other.

We must be vigilant and watchful that we not neglectful in embracing and pursuing ALL that God has for us.

I will leave you with this final thought:

Romans 8:28 (AMPC)

28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

When Paul wrote this, I believe he was not merely referring to unpleasant circumstances that we may not understand in their present time.

When we look at the much larger picture, we have to understand that everything God is giving us, teaching us and instructing us about ultimately works together, hand in hand according to HIS design and purpose.

All the smaller things are working towards a much larger endeavor and we cannot lose sight of that larger picture by only seeing a very small part of it and holding to that singular part.

Be it the gifts, fruits of the Spirit, callings, anointing or the many other things which could be named, we must endeavor to see and embrace all things that God wants to give us together for His kingdoms sake.

An Ever-Present Help

“God helps those that help themselves”.  It is a saying that I have heard my entire life in and out of church.

While it seems to have the appearance of being righteous thinking, there is really a false humility that is associated with it and it is a line of thinking that destines us for failure and fatigue.

Granted, God wants us to learn to be good stewards of the things we are blessed with and it is important to God that we are obedient to do what God asks us, but that’s not really what this statement is saying.

This statement is actually implying conditions upon God’s goodness, His concern for us and his willingness to help us based on what WE can do for ourselves in our own strength.

By doing so, it in essence agrees with the line of thinking the Galatians had that Paul sharply rebuked them for in chapter 3;

Galatians 3:3

3 Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?

Throughout the scriptures, there are numerous teachings and examples of people who tried to reply upon themselves and their own works and through them met with failure.

Believing that we can help God do what only He alone can do, eventually leads to pride and pride eventually leads to distancing ourselves from seeing God as our all in all.

We begin to hold God at arm’s length only letting Him in to help us when we can’t manage the situation or it is something that is drastically far beyond our control or ability to do for ourselves.

God however, is not content to only be someone on call or standby for our life crisis.  God wants to be involved and help us with the small details of our lives.

God is in the business of helping us even in things that he has given us grace to do in our limited strength.  Even though it is something that we may be able to handle such as a decision or small task, He is still with is and in us giving us strength as we rely on Him.

Phillipians 4:13 tells us:

13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

But what about those people who just can’t seem to get it together or what about that issue or besetting sin that keeps coming around and hounding us?

Each time it comes around, we try to do the right thing.  We want to make good choices, (after all we are responsible for our actions right?) but even in spite of our hearts desire to make the right choice, to do the right thing, we fall down in weakness.

After doing so, the enemy comes with a laughing chorus to ridicule us, to shame us and to accuse us.  His goal, simply put is to get us to take responsibility for something that Jesus has already conquered in our lives.

He wants us to see our identity wrapped up in failure and to take responsibility for failing God so that we will not embrace the truth of our situation and our identity- that Jesus has already defeated the enemy and that He sees us already as we are going to be through His eyes.

He has already taken care of every need and he has already provided the strength and ability for us to rise up and be who he has called us to be – and the beautiful part?  It had nothing to do with anything we could do on our own to help ourselves.

The phrase I introduced at the beginning of this blog, is nothing more than an ideology that the enemy tries to get us as believers to embrace so that we rob ourselves of the power of the grace of Jesus Christ.

Grace is so complex.  It is full of mercy and full of gifts and promises but it is also full of power that allows us to live in a way that is above sin, crushing it under our feet.

Grace allows us to do those things that in our natural ability or strength we cannot.

Paul said this of his weaknesses and grace:

2 Corinthians 12:9

9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

God does not simply help those that help themselves, God helps those that cannot help themselves and He lovingly helps those whom the world has labeled as beyond help.

To quote the lyrics of a song by Someonebrave, “There is no sin unforgiveable, when I’m looking in His eyes”

There is no failure, no mistake, no weakness, no situation that Jesus did not give full provision for when He went to the cross.

He alone finished the work, He alone has seen to every detail of you becoming a champion in His kingdom.

There is perfect hope for you when you cannot help yourself and there is revelation and peace in knowing that God Himself will be your strength and your resolve and bring you to a place on complete victory.

What God has Called Righteous

Our position before God is something that the enemy challenges constantly in our minds and even before God Himself.

The scriptures tell us that he is called the “accuser of the brethren”.

We can have complete confidence however that our position and standing before God is taken care of; that we stand holy and righteous before God because of what Christ has done for us and in us.

Acts 11:9

9 But the voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).’

Let it be settled in our hearts and minds that we are righteous and holy through Jesus Christ. The power of the blood of Jesus makes us both holy and righteous but even more; it helps us to practice righteousness and holiness.

What is the difference you might ask? Practicing is the outward expression into the natural of what is the intrinsic or internal character and make up of something or someone.

When we become a new creation; being made a Son of God, our identity becomes new, something never before existing.

Our old Adamic nature and being (pertaining to the lineage of Adam) becomes reborn into the image of Christ.

In this process, we put on the identity and the substance of Christ becoming both His righteousness and His holiness.

The practice of righteousness and holiness then becomes the outward display and manifest character of who we now are in Christ.

Holiness and righteousness are not something that we have to earn additionally or apart from gaining our new identity in Christ. They are inherent to the metamorphosis.

Learning to walk and practice our inherent character and identity of righteousness and holiness is developed through the teaching by and through the power of the Holy Spirit being present in our lives and by the outpouring of His power and gifts on us.

By settling once and for all that our identity and to whom we belong inherently has made us both righteous and holy before God our Father, we can put to rest any fear and concerns about the security of our salvation and our standing of being righteous and holy before God.

Once we have done that, our focus can be completely directed towards learning from the Holy Spirit how to practice righteousness and holiness and naturally express that which is in our nature to do – to be righteous and to be holy.

A Man (or Woman) After God’s Own Heart

Have you ever experienced a revelation from the Holy Spirit that is correction but you knew that it was for the purpose of bringing greater levels of anointing and relationship with Jesus?

I would say without a doubt if you are a Christian you most certainly have and if you haven’t come to understand it that way, hang on because you will!

This is why I have come to love repentance; because it is a revelatory gift from God.

David understood this and it is one of the big reasons why he was a man after God’s own heart.

The church has had generations to confuse things in their ongoing drive to put God into the confines of religion. The church has equated repentance with sin, shame and condemnation – something that has been turned into a public exhibition of a person’s sin and a denial of self-worth in some manner of misguided self-redemption and apology to God.  The church has got it all wrong.

The scriptures tell us the God is always, and I do mean always, working for our good.

Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Jesus is not a part time lover, He is a dedicated husband that is inseparable in His makeup from us – His body and His bride.  He is not going to keep His bride in ignorance or in the dark.  He is going to reveal His nature and glory to her so that she (we the church) are transformed into His image.

Of course, there is often times feelings of remorse and even weeping that sometime can come with repentance, but genuine repentance to the believer that understands it as a process of revelation.   in fact it is a gift, and it is seen as a love gesture, a promotion and edification.

When Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness it is never to get us to grovel or to shame us.  Holy Spirit is always trying to show us the glory (the manifest nature) of Jesus Christ.  That Jesus is going to do everything in His power to help us become the bride that John writes about in Revelation chapter 19.

This repentance then is an act of obedience on our part that steps us up in revelation knowledge, knowing more about the inherent mind, heart and emotions of God – In essence we have taken a step to become more like Him, being further transformed into His image.

Some time ago the Holy Spirit really ramped up His thoughts regarding how I speak about, treat, honor and love the body of Jesus Christ.

I have always had an affinity for the body, ever since God began moving me into the realm of ministry and the pursuit of becoming a pastor, but as I officially entered that calling specifically, there was a much more significant importance and raised standard put into my heart by Holy Spirit.

This continues to be an ongoing revelation of the inseparability between Jesus and the Body of Christ when it comes to having relationship with Him.

There has been a higher expectation communicated to me about what God wants for me and from me in terms of my relationship with His body.  To not only love His body but to passionately fall in love with His body with the love of Jesus.

It is after all, an inseparable part of being in love with Jesus Christ.   That means changing the way I speak, the way I see, the way I deal with and what I do for the body of Christ.

I was once again reminded this week as I studied in the word about the importance of this:

1 Peter 4:10-11 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)  

10 As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the [f]extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].

Our gifts and callings are for the benefit of each other and for the body at large.  Our perspective has to be for the good of others – in love towards them.  Love has to be our motivation and our purpose.

11 Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever (through endless ages). Amen (so be it).

Whoever speaks – let it be prophetic; declaring the heart, emptions, mind and love of God over one another always.  Our words should always be for the edification and encouragement of each other (speaking as oracles).  Whenever we render service, let our gifts (spiritual and natural) be executed with all our strength to the benefit of others that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ that lives in us.

Repentance is also an exercise in humility.

God loves humility and loves it when we humble ourselves and He gives such rewards for it both in the way of revelation gained but also in the power of God’s grace!

James 4:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) 

6 But He gives us more and more grace (power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it).

Repentance becomes a mile marker in our lives of revelation given by God having been applied by us.  Repentance becomes the evidence of humility at work in lives as well as the evidence that God is so interested in everything that we do and are and that He has made us for good works!

It shows us that He sees us and watches us and is always speaking to us to elevate and empower us.  Repentance is a vital part of our growth and should be something that we embrace with welcome arms –for with every opportunity for repentance comes opportunity for revelation and power from Holy Spirit.

Repentance is a gracious opportunity for us to see God’s heart, mind and emotions and to adopt His ways as our own.

 

 

Relationship, Covenant, Marriage

Today, marriage is on a slippery slope.  More and more millennials and even other generations have decided to shake off the need for “traditional marriage” instead, opting to simply live together.  After all, marriage is just a piece of paper right?

Well, to answer that question in short, no, marriage is not just a piece of paper.  Marriage is an institution that was created by God.  God is in the business of relationship and He is certainly in the business of honor and love.  In fact, love is not just something that God does, it is what He IS.

God designed us for two primary reasons; first to love Him and to be loved by Him and secondly to experience relationship with Him.  A huge part of our relationship with Him comes through our relationship with each other.

Matthew 22:36-40 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

36 Teacher, which [a]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?]

37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).

38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

40 These two commandments [b]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

 

But, we aren’t just talking about relationship or love, we are talking about covenant and God is all about having covenant with those He is in relationship with and for us as His children to be in covenant with one another.

So why would two people want to unite in marriage and a marriage covenant?

Marriage is a very special kind of covenant because it is where two people actually become as one person and are connected not only on a physical and mental level, but a spiritual level as well.

God designed relationships to have intimacy and marriage has its own unique and exclusive forms of intimacy that cannot be experienced outside of the boundaries of marriage between a woman and a man.  The level of relational commitment, love, honor, transparency and exclusivity mirror our relationship and covenant with Jesus Christ in the highest possible way for natural relationships.

More and more, we see the church embracing world systems of thinking and world standards concerning the declining importance of and definition of marriage rather than those that are biblically defined and upheld by Jesus Christ.

Putting aside for just a moment the doctrinal issues of doing this, it presents a huge dilemma for believers because it begins to erode the foundations of what relationship and covenant with Jesus Christ are and the exclusivity of our relationship with Him.

If we as the church begin to allow the boundaries of marriage in the natural to be compromised and the exclusivity and honor of marriage becomes less than what it is as defined by God to be, then we soon find ourselves in danger of allowing the same compromises to infiltrate and destroy our relationship, intimacy and exclusivity with Jesus Christ.

In the context of intimate relationship between a man and a woman, there is no equal experience to marriage.  In the context of intimate relationship between us and Jesus Christ there is no equal experience to marriage.  The natural mirrors the supernatural and in all of the scriptures, throughout all of creation and the ages we see the truth of this.

Hebrews 12:2 paints a picture of the type of love, commitment, honor and selflessness that covenant and marriage can produce as exemplified by Jesus Himself:

Hebrews 12:2 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The write of Hebrews refers to the “joy” that was set before Jesus.  That joy, is us; His bride, His beloved.

Jesus, looked into the future and saw us as we are in Revelation chapter 19 –

7 Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself.

8 She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white—for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God’s holy people).

9 Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed (happy, [b]to be envied) are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me [further], These are the true words (the genuine and exact declarations) of God.

Marriage, allows for us to see beyond ourselves and gives us an opportunity to see the very best in another and to love and honor them as the person God is calling them to be.  Marriage gives us a unique place in another person’s life to be a part of the journey and experience to fulfil their destiny in Christ.

It allows us to speak into, influence and love through things that only covenant relationship can bring about; things that only the deepest of commitments and the most selfless of acts can produce.

Through the experience of marriage, it can help us grow in the revelation knowledge that we are not only the one that Jesus love, but we are the one that Jesus is in love with.

While God has called some people to a life of celibacy for the sake of his kingdom, overall, marriage is a gift from God that we have an option to experience and for anyone who is involved in intimate relationship with a member of the opposing gender, the benefits of joy, intimacy, relationship and fulfillment cannot be imitated or argued.

God has created us for love, for relationship and for covenant.  We as the church must always strive to see the model and example set by God as not confining rules, but as treasure that elevates our life to the fullest of joy and satisfaction.

John 15:11 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

Desire Over Obligation

I have a bible app on my smart phone as most Christians probably do and I get daily versus that will pop up during the day.

Today was no different than any other day other than the fact of the scripture that popped up.  Normally, I read the scriptures and I might meditate on them for a short while, but today’s scripture caught my eye especially.

I have been learning how to listen to Holy Spirit more deeply, how God speaks to us in ways that are outside normal perceived channels of communication but have much meaning.

I have learned and continue to learn that God speaks to us in a variety of ways.  Jesus taught in parables and stories.  Often times God will speak to us through repetition.  It may be a repetition of a word, a color, a number or even a line of thinking.

This scripture fell right in line with a line of thinking that God has been dealing with me on for several months.

To summarize, I think we as Christians often miss out on relational experiences because we attribute so much of who God is to only one characteristic of His overall personality; Almighty Sovereign God.

In no way do I mean to diminish His glory or the awesomeness of God.  We should have a reverential respect of our Father in heaven and even for Jesus as the risen Messiah but we cannot simply leave the personality of God as being one dimensional.

I think for many Christians including myself, we have a tendency to see this primarily as the scope of who God is and perhaps hidden fear has kept us from really finding out Who God is and what He is like.

It has occurred to me of late however, I wonder if God ever gets tired of our tiptoeing around and going through tradition and pomp and circumstance? As if we respect or even love God through what we have been taught as “reverential fear or respect” of God, but never even have a moment of connection that is equivalent to that of a son and father, a best friend or even a close buddy?

I know some people will probably shy away from my views as borderline “sacrilegious” regarding the perceived “casual” nature of my suggested interactions with God, but what kind of relationship did God have with Abraham?

God called Abraham His friend, He sat with Abraham, ate with him and He cut covenant with Abraham.  There is no more intimate relationship than that.

Intimacy is a funny thing because it opens up a familiarity that “acquaintances” in our social circles don’t necessarily share with us.  For instance, with my wife or my best friend, I can be vulnerable without judgement.  I can share an inside joke that is only known and funny to us.  If our relationships with people are a mirror of what relationship with God is about, why wouldn’t He also enjoy these things and those dynamics of relationship as well?

Is God not interested in our dreams? Our fantasies, our imaginations?  Is He not interested in the small everyday common things that affect us or are in our hearts and thought lives?  Of course He is!

The bible tells us that the very hairs on our heads are numbered.  If God is willing to go into that kind of detail over our physical outside, just imagine how on the edge of His throne He is about our hearts and minds, even the things that other people don’t have time for!

So, to bring this together, the idea that God has been hitting me with for some time is the idea of family and friendship instead of being a servant.  To really begin to see God’s heart and mind about me and our relationship.

The relational dynamics conversely between friend and servant are different in so many ways that I can’t list them all here but one I want to mention primarily is motivation.  A servant’s motivation to please is one of obligation.  Servants feel they have to do this or that to please God so that God won’t be angry or He will see them favorably.  Their focus is one of working and appeasement.  Family and intimate friend’s motivation to please is one of desire.  I take joy in seeing my wife smile and laugh when I joke with her and seeing her eyes light up when I tell her how beautiful she looks.  She benefits from my desire to please and I benefit from the joy of seeing her happy.  It is the same with God.

I cannot help but see the truth of this in my relationship with God the more He reveals about Himself to me.

So you are probably wondering what scripture could have possibly spurned me to finally write a blog post about these things God has been showing me.

Look no Further:

Isaiah 29: 13

13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning],

It is apparent to me that God is addressing the issue of religious tradition and dogmatic practices that mean nothing to the observer.  Even those things that are observed as “reverential”, “fearful” or “respectful” they are nothing more than rote memorization of practices taught out of obligation and by commandment of men, being practiced in vain repetition.

We can know all the right phrases to say, we can speak all the “church speak” we want, interjecting “amen’s” and “hallelujahs” in all the right places.  We can go to all the church services, we can attend every Sunday school class.  We can even observe all the right behaviors and ordinances but without that deep connection of loving intimacy, friendship, and honor and respect based in our hearts AND from our lips, we can never fully give God what He is due or receive from Him what He wants to give us in terms of our relationship with Him.

God wants family who are also friends.  God has always recognized His prophets as His friends because He tells His friends the secrets of His heart.  Abraham was called a prophet and God’s friend and we being children of Abraham and sharing in his inheritance are in the same sense prophets and friends of God.  Even more, we are His family and He wants nothing more than to share the depths of love and goodness He has in His heart for us.

God does not want cookie cutter religious automatons, He wants children with His nature and a free will to know their identity; one that is unique, special and full of His spirit.  God is not looking for groveling slaves, He is looking for family who will share their hearts and minds with Him and make decisions based on His character and DNA that resides in us.  He is looking for people that can have a unique and individual relationship with him and an identity found in Him alone for the purpose of ruling and reigning.

We need to tear down our small mindedness and ways of thinking and embrace the mind of Christ, seeing ourselves as God sees us and bringing our hearts and minds boldly and fully into His presence.

We will honor Him because of our desire to not because we are obligated to.

 

ALWAYS for Your Good

God is ALWAYS working for your good.  Even when we are enduring pain and sorrow, God always gives us beauty for ashes and he can take our mistakes and use them to bring about great victory, life and even purpose!

As I was reading Genesis 3 I came across the scriptures where God told Eve that her sorrows would be multiplied and that she would bear children because of her disobedience.

I have heard preachers in the past preach this as a punishment or even a curse and even using it in some way to try and show that God “put women in their place” because Eve made such a mistake.

This is common theology and it is so prevalent in much of Christian teaching.  As I read and thought, I wondered, where is the heart of God in this?  God IS LOVE and He is for us not against us and is always working for our benefit.  Even before the cross, the heart and emotions of God have always been that of love and as our Father.

So how could I find the spirit of the prophetic in this?  How could I see the loving heart of God in this?

What became ironic to me is that as I read that scripture over and was studying on it was that God did not say to Eve that He was punishing her, nor did He ever place a curse on her.  He did say that he would multiply her pain and sorrow and that there was a consequence for her actions but prior to letting Eve know this, God himself prophesied victory over the seed of Satan from the Seed of Eve!  God declared Jesus in that scripture as the seed that would bruise the head of Satan as He crushed Satan underfoot!

As I read it, I reflected on the process of a woman carrying a baby, delivering a baby and nurturing a young child is very hard, tiring and painful.  It takes a toll on women both emotionally and physically.

It was however, the necessary process through which a child could be born, that without the process (even though tiresome, painful and emotional) without woman to endure and persevere, there would be no continuation or carrying on of new life.

Here is the really awesome part though, through that process, through that responsibility that God placed on a woman and wife comes the salvation for all of mankind.

It was through this process and through the mistake of Eve that God set up the arrival of the Messiah Jesus Christ.

It was in this that I saw God’s heart and the spirit of the prophetic.  God could have cursed Eve, He could have punished her however He saw fit, but in the midst of her mistake, He gave her a purpose, an identity that was so unique and He planted the seed for the greatest honor – to bring forth into flesh God Himself!  Yes, there was pain and work but there was also joy and such love that was released from it!

As I began to realize this, it also made me begin to understand the reason why the anti-Christ spirit has such a stronghold in the area of abortion.

Killing babies is nothing new from a biblical study historically.  It happened to the Jews on more than one occasion.  Most prominently prior to the birth of Moses and of Jesus.

Both of which came to deliver God’s people from bondage and captivity, one in the natural the other in the spiritual.

As I looked at this it began to occur to me that the enemy used knowledge that was prophetically shared to God’s people to formulate a plan that ultimately failed.

In both instances Satan used the killing of innocent babies to try and stop the hand of God.  Both times, he failed.

So now I asked myself, why is abortion so important to the enemy?  Why would killing unborn babies be so important to the agenda of the anti-Christ outside the obvious that Satan hates mankind because God loves us and we are His children.

It seemed to click, Satan knows that His time is short, He also knows that God plans to pour out his spirit on ALL flesh in these end times.  I believe that God is raising up forerunners now and the coming generations will be the ones who will comprise the numbers of the glorious and victorious church, the church that will walk with power, victory and authority like never seen before.

For Satan, it is about keeping an impending army from happening.  He is trying to limit the numbers and effectiveness of the Army of God.

This is not a new tactic, it has been practiced for millennia by mankind.

The enemy has deceived so many women with spiritual espionage and tricked them into doing his work for him with the same initial lie that he deceived Eve with.

He is afraid of who might arise, who God may anoint and what damage these unborn individuals may have on his kingdom and being the coward that he is, he kills the helpless, the defenseless.

But, there is hope and good news.  Despite what the enemy has done historically and even though his tactics remain the same, so will his ultimate failure.

God is going to raise up his pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists and apostles.  God is going to bring forth what He has purposed to do.

 

It’s ALL About Love

I love it when I find parallelisms in scripture.  I also love it when I find that Jesus is making references to one thing but it has much deeper implications that affect something else.

Case in point; much of what is often taught in the scriptures has a benefit or ramifications in the natural and supernatural simultaneously.

We see that both Jesus and Paul the Apostle taught about the natural and supernatural law of sowing and reaping as well as other things that have dual influence.

As I was meditating on a couple of thoughts that I have preached on and often discussed with others, I thought to myself I have never really just sat down and did a side by side comparison in writing.

There are two areas of scriptures that I want to compare today and for this reason; to show that the benefits of God come not necessarily from our pursuit of the blessing or benefit but from the pursuit of Jesus.  This is true both in the natural and spiritual.

Matthew 6:33 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

Matthew 22:37-40 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).

38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

40 These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Romans 8:32Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

 

A seed contains both the life and the fruit that will be born from it.  Only the seed can produce the fruit and give the life to the tree.

So, for all the fruit that we desire (which is Godly) we have to not simply desire the fruit but me must seek the seed, for the seed contains all the life and abundance within it.

God knows that we have needs, He also knows that we have desires.  God wants to give us the desires of our hearts more than we ourselves desire them.

The problem often becomes that our focus is pointed towards the natural needs and desires of our bodies and minds as well as the spiritual blessings and gifts we desire from God.

If we pursue those things and desire those things more than we desire and pursue love and intimacy with God, they can become idols.  Yes I said Idols.  ANYTHING that usurps the position of love and relationship with God and robs those things of having preeminence in our lives can and do become idols.  Even the benefits, blessings and gifts of God.

I believe that Jesus taught and gave the two commandments because this is the seed of relationship.  Within the seed of relationship is contained the fruit of relationship; our needs, our desires, gifts, blessings for both the natural and spiritual.

Even our theology and doctrine is found in this seed of love and relationship.

God’s love for us conveys His heart to give us all things; spiritual gifts, power, authority, destiny, callings, abundance, wisdom, favor, finances, the list can go on and on.

All of these things being fruit contained in the seed.

So we see that our sufficiency is in God and in Him alone.  Our identity is simply this – You are a son of God.  Your purpose is simply this – to love God and to be loved by God.  These two things are part of the seed of love and relationship with God.  Everything that happens as a result of that or to experience that are the fruits born from the seed.

SO what am I saying?  If we desire blessings and favor in the natural, then we will naturally see these things by default when we make our pursuit and relationship with God the first and foremost endeavor.

When we want to gain a greater spirit of wisdom and revelation about how God loves us, what our role in the kingdom is, what our calling is, we love Him with all that we are.

In doing so, those spiritual things we desire; the gifts of the Holy Spirit, ministry, purpose, they will all be given and are a benefit of our real identity and ultimate purpose – to love God.

We know that God will withhold nothing from us, but as we love Him and pursue Him, we discover the treasures of His heart and He cannot help but do what is in His nature to do for us; to bless us, empower us, give us gifts, enlighten us about His love and grace.

Do you seek the gifts of the spirit?  Focus on loving God.  Do you seek greater financial blessings?  Focus on loving God.  Do you want to understand your calling?  Focus on loving God.

Nothing will be withheld, all will be given by default without our need to pursue or work for any of the blessings or gifts of God.  They are all fruits contained within the seed – which itself is the ultimate reward – to love God and to be loved by Him.

Fear Not…

The enemy wants to steal our joy and our relationship with our heavenly Father by trying to keep us focused on fear; fear of making mistakes, fear of failure, fear of falling down and most of all fear that God will be angry with us when we do.

God is not angry when we miss the mark, in fact God is excited to watch us as we take steps out in faith trusting the wisdom and the Mind of Christ He gives us because of His spirit being alive within us.

God is not disappointed, He is not taken aback when we don’t get it “perfect”. He is continuously telling you, He loves you, He is proud of You, you can do so much more!

He is there to pick you up just like a toddler learning to walk, taking steps, unbalanced and uncoordinated. He picks you up and holds your hand and encourages you to take steps on your own, listening to His voice behind you, guide you, teaching you, encouraging you.

This is the Dad that I have in my heavenly Father, this is the awesome big brother I have in Jesus. These are the ones who do not make me slave or servant, but love me as family.

It’s time to change your paradigm, it’s time to change your theology and doctrine through revelation, that this is a family relationship that is entirely wrapped up in and about love between Father God’s heart and our own.