Two-Sided Salvation – part 6

Often, those who reside on the side of life prior to salvation are plagued with faithlessness. Why? Many of us are raised in this world with a ‘scientific’ viewpoint; i.e. ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Yet a plethora of the population believes in the ‘Big Bang,’ while not ever contemplating that it takes some kind of ‘faith’ to believe that the universe and how we got here was resulted from a series of random events.

Many take for granted that every time they flip the light switch, illumination will result – even though electricity, for the most part, cannot be seen.

Lack of faith can produce several deleterious results. For example, what if you don’t have faith in a hereafter? If you haven’t noticed, this life flashes by in heartbeat. Moreover, it is chock-full of trials and tribulations, with no true path for navigating them or rising above them. To make matters worse, the world’s concepts of happiness yield fleeting results at best. Contentedness is a rare commodity.

What if you don’t have faith in love? It’s hard to possess sometimes, given the inherent shortcomings of our humanity. We can’t trust most people to put other’s welfare above their own. And again, the world provides so many destructive paths that lead to failure in love.

If you don’t have faith in yourself, life will be doubly hard. Life keeps coming at you whether or not you are prepared to weather it. If you don’t know how, you’ll view yourself as weak, flawed and unacceptable. Hardly fertile ground for growing relationships. Instead, you can find yourself in isolation, depression and subsequently suffering from all the self-destructive activities one dives into to suppress them.

If you don’t have faith in God, who then are you going to turn to deliver you out of this mess?

That’s where salvation comes in. God has been waiting for you since before your first day of life on this earth, yearning for your return to His original purpose for you:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Jesus). Eph. 1:3 – 6. NKJV

God had every intention of delivering you from the world and its ways and its consequences. He built it into your path. And the gate to the path is Christ:

In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty of our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the richness of His grace which He lavished on us. in all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight], He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages] – to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny – we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:7 – 12. AMP

So, God wants to draw you to Himself but He cannot do so unless you are holy (sinless). Can we of ourselves come into His presence in that state?

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kings 8:46 NKJV

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… Is. 64:6 NKJV

Thus, not only are we sinful, our best efforts to atone for them are for naught. But praise be to God, you can see that He has made us ’acceptable’ in His grace through the blood of Christ that pays the price for our transgressions and gathers us into His love for eternity. That is the gospel message, that is salvation.

Notice though the last line of the scripture, we who were the first to hope in Christ; (emphasis mine). ‘Hope’ equates with ‘faith.’ If you have no faith in Christ, who He is, what He’s done and His gospel, you will have no salvation. The consequence is that at the end of time, you will be placed into the category of what Jesus says are ‘goats’ that He gathers in HIs left hand:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ “… Mt. 23:31 – 34 & 41. NKJV

Doesn’t sound like a great outcome for those goats.

Bottom line: it takes faith to receive salvation. So, what is faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

Faith is the hope in things that are not tangible to our five senses. And faith is required to have a relationship with God:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and act He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 AMP

We can’t even approach God without some measure of faith. When we possess that faith, the love of God confers upon us our salvation – totally by His doing, not by any efforts of our own:

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). Rm. 3:28 AMP

The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct or the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mk. 1:15 AMP

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NASB

It’s all about the faith, because if you don’t have it, you cannot be delivered from that stain of worldly dross:

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

We need the faith, but how do we get it? That’s the best part!

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 ESV

…let us with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP

Thus, God gives us a free gift of faith that He created through His Son, which is delivered by the Holy Spirit and nurtured and strengthened when we immerse ourselves in the hearing of the gospel.

God never leaves us hanging. Once, Jesus came upon a boy that was suffering from demon-induced epileptic seizures. The boy’s father asked Christ to cure the him if He was able. Jesus replied:

“All things are possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23 ESV

The father immediately responds, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mk. 9:24 ESV

And Jesus healed the boy.

So, not only do you receive divine faith when you ask for it, Jesus makes sure you have enough.

Have faith.

Goodnight and God bless.

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February 18 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Two-Sided Salvation – part 5

The side of the state of man that is ‘unsaved’ is often accompanied by fear. Fear is not a natural state. We have to be indoctrinated to feel afraid, to reflect the mindset of an anxious world. It is our most formidable defense mechanism.

However, what is it defending us from? Pain. It is a pain that we seek to avoid at all costs. Fear tells us, ‘It’s coming! Run!’ Yet most of the time, what it is that we are running from is some imaginary thing we think might happen.

Fear keeps you from being still and facing the truth. It is not a helper; it’s a killer – often inflicting its host with anxiety, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Fear is the sum result of childhood conditioning which impresses upon you a sense being inadequate with regards to living life. It’s a state being immensely overwhelmed by false beliefs.

When you are in that state, you can never plant your feet firmly in reality, in the present moment, because you are always running away in your mind. Some people even try to hide in their ‘spiritual’ pursuits, paying attention to their rituals rather than opening themselves up for the transformation of the Holy Spirit.

There are many other distractions and addictions that we use to hide as well; but this robs us of the ability to see what we are truly up to, to stop and notice if fear is working for us. Not! When we let fear reign, we steep in denial regarding the innate goodness that God has molded into us. Often, we are given into despair.

The three primary fears are: the fear of death, of abandonment and of impermanence (change). The fear of death grows from a fear of the unknown, abandonment from a belief of being unacceptable, and change from a deep desire to be in control.

The answer to beating fear is the answer to living life. We need to hop over the fence to the side of salvation in order to connect to God through Christ. God has always been in control; we just have to connect with Him and He will make your life blossom by guiding you on the path that He gave you at birth:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Pr. 3:5 – 7. NKJV

Ask Him to examine your soul and untie all the knots that you fettered yourself with. He’ll do that by revealing the truth of the wonder that you are, as well as expose the lies that you had heretofore believed in:

The spirit (conscience) of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching and examining all the innermost parts of his being. Pr. 20:27 AMP

God tells you that fear has nothing to offer you:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high. Pr. 29:25 AMP

How many fears will God remove?

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Ps. 34:4 NASB

All of them.

You don’t have to fear other people (which usually is a product of misunderstanding through poor communication. Indeed, you may only be reacting to the other person’s fear of you, because they haven’t seen God show up in your behavior):

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? Ps. 56:3, 4. NASB

You don’t have to be afraid of evil. Christ did not come to tell us how be victorious over the satanic machinations in the world. He’s already doing the work. He just wants you to stay connected to Him:

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have already defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He who lives in you is greater (mightier) that he who is in the world. 1 Jn. 4:4 AMP

You can also put your past behind you because the blood of Christ has cleansed you of all transgressions, and you can now focus on the newfound love in your heart:

Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Is. 43:18, 19. AMP

Being saved, you will now look forward to change. Why? It’s because you will now be connected to the only source of stability:

“For I am the LORD, I do not change…” Mal. 3:6 NKJV

And, you can take it to the bank that every change you will experience will be one that is sanctioned by God to bring you to the next step in your highest and best life.

Finally, the greatest perk of salvation is that you need not fear death any longer:

“Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.” Rv. 21:3, 4. NKJV

Praise God for His salvation!

Goodnight and God bless.

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February 09 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Two-Sided Salvation – part 4

Speaking of life before and after salvation…

In our unsaved state, we are totally attached to ourselves – especially with regards to how we perceive that others see us. This attachment is based upon an obsession with our past or anxiety over our future, all of which is centered around a belief of being ‘unacceptable,’ due to some association with a past experience.

Something we did or that was done to us has led to a belief that we are undesirable for relationships and that we must be someone other than ourselves to ‘measure up.’ Thus, we get trussed up by our efforts to do the impossible, which keeps us locked out of the present moment – the only timeframe where happiness and acceptance can be found.

In our makings of this despair, we see ourselves as being separate from the rest of the humanity. This feeling of ‘not belonging’ leads to anger, fear and jealousy – all of which promotes suffering. Consequently, we live life in a series of hurtful knee-jerk reactions and thoughts (blaming others and our situations) that perpetuate this misery. All the while, the life that God meant for us to have, passes us by.

We are alienated from our spirit, trapped in this false self. When we are self-absorbed, we join in with most of the rest of the world who flounder, stumble and wrestle in futile attempts to find peace and happiness by chasing after the yearnings of the flesh.

You are imposing your will upon your spirit and on others, rather than yielding to the will of God.

None of this is what God wants for you or does your opinion of yourself reflect how He sees you. So, how does God see you?

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created them; male and female He created them. Gn. 1:27 AMP

Thus, God sees you as He sees Himself. Moreover, He planted Himself inside of you:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Cor. 3:16 ESV

And then He set you on your path to righteous deliverance, fully equipped to find your way:

For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained to me, when as yet there were none of them. Ps. 139:13 – 16. NASB

We were created perfectly at birth, already saved! However, once we reach the age of accountability (when the Law that God planted in our hearts manifest), our need to remove the taint of Adam’s sin becomes apparent. Yet even then, God has already planned for the reconciliation that you need to return to Him:

For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness]… Rm. 8:29 AMP

…God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Th. 2:13 NASB

We see then, that God does not make mistakes. There are no flaws in His creations.

Oh, you might say, ‘What about those who are physically / mentally challenged?’  It is my personal belief that they were put here to inspire us as they overcome their differences, or to help us learn to plant the seeds of greater compassion, love, kindness and service within. Regardless, I believe that after their transient life on this earth is done, their heavenly selves will be exceptional beyond our imagination.

His kingdom is for everyone. God accepts us all.

What He cannot accept is sinful thoughts and actions; but praise God, that’s where salvation comes in:

…in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him. Acts 10:35 AMP

When you come to Jesus for salvation, your old sin self is removed as you receive the covering of Christ’s righteousness:

But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:11 NKJV

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Eph. 1:7, 8. NASB

Therefore if any person is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Cor. 5:17 AMP

Jesus has done the work, not you! You are freed by grace. And what does God do?

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Ps. 103:12 NKJV

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.” Is. 43:25 NKJV

So, if God accepts you, who are you not to? You are exactly how God created you to be – a soldier for the kingdom to complete His will as only you can. If God accepts us as we are, there is no perfection that we must strive for. He’s done it already! All that is required is for you to have faith that it is complete.

It doesn’t mean that you won’t screw up from time to time. You will. God’s love and acceptance is never conditional. He always stands ready for you to come back to Him to love you through your repentance so that He can restore your place in His presence.

Even when God’s Law convicts us, we can rely upon and embrace Christ’s gospel salvation that removes all transgressions from our goodness.

Finally consider the immeasurable love of God who cleanses us from our sins yet uses those that have committed them to spread the love and grace of His salvation to the hopeless and lost.

God is good…

Goodnight and God bless.

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February 04 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Two-Sided Salvation – part 3

Continuing in our examination of the two sides of salvation – life before, and after…

In the days before salvation is realized, we walk this earth with an incongruity in ourselves – a clash between the sins desired by the flesh versus the innate Law of God that He planted in our souls. The Law is not meant to create hostility however, it is for revealing right thinking and acting (by way of conviction), as well as to generate a hunger for the love and peace of God that can only be satiated by the salvation found through Christ.

The Law warns of death for the unrepentant, while the gospel of salvation promises eternal life for the saved. The gospel reveals that you are not godly in your present state, but that your godly Savior will render you so by covering you with His righteousness. Indeed, it is only when one is first convinced of their ungodliness, can they enter the door of reconciliation with their Creator – i.e. only after the Law has done its job.

Again, you can only be found by Jesus when you realize that you are lost. Without that knowledge, you’re unaware of your need for God’s mercy. And because of the pride built into your flesh, you don’t seek it out.

God put the Law in place, but after it’s done its work, He wants to comfort you from it with His righteousness, justification and sanctification through His Son:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies… Ps. 103:3, 4. NKJV

Another possible obstacle to salvation is if the unsaved falls victim to ‘religion,’ that is, scripture and religious practices perverted to serve the will of man. It is a vehicle for glorifying oneself, so it flies in the face of the example of Jesus’ pursuit of selflessness in service.

The philosophies of man are false doctrines which are usually opposed to divine truth, making them noxious to the soul.

There are no manmade works that can bring salvation to anyone. It comes purely by the free grace of God. However, good works should be an outcome of that grace:

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your’ works [nor attempts to keep the Law], so that no one can boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Eph. 2:8 – 10. AMP

Our part in our salvation is to know and accept our redemption through the gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins, and give our lives to Him by living by His Father’s words.

Jesus gave His life for our redemption. And only He could have done that, because through His virgin birth, He was spared from the damning contamination of Adam’s sin. Only Christ could make a sinless offering of Himself – shedding His blood in death so that our souls would be cleansed. In so doing, we can enter into the Father’s presence for all eternity.

Unfortunately, even after you’ve received your divine reconciliation, you will continue to fall. The good news is that in our saved state, we can approach the throne of our Father in earnest repentance and reap the restoration of His mercy.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. Heb. 4:16 NASB

You may have sinned, but you are now a ‘saint.’ That old sinner in you has died:

For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3 AMP

Once saved, God does not call you to condemnation. And who is the worst condemner? It’s you. It’s a negative habit that you formed in your childhood; but you can get rid of it by paying attention to what God says about you. He sees you through the eyes of Christ, your divine Mediator, which makes you perfect, lovable, good enough and acceptable…

Hallelujah!

Goodnight and God bless.

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January 26 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Two-Sided Salvation – part 2

We were talking about the two states that we find ourselves in, with regards to salvation: the predicaments we can experience prior to salvation, versus the position that we hold after having been saved.

There are many obstacles that prevent us from reaching out for salvation. One may be ignorance, i.e. not having heard the gospel. All the other obstacles are things that we put upon ourselves.

Aside from sin, the most formidable of these is the practice of living in the past. When we occupy that timeframe, we subconsciously indulge our wounded child within, who, constantly begs for our attention with regards to its unhealed miseries.

We try to oppress those hurts with busyness, distractions or addictions, rather than open them up for the healing of Christ; and we become mentally and / or physically sick in the process.

We yearn for connection, all the while living out a life from an illusion of being separated from God, other people and our true selves, that we concoct through self-judgment over our roles (actual or perceived) in past events. That illusion gives birth to thoughts and actions that are derogatory to both ourselves and those around us – making the separation real.

This ultimately leads to a life wasted in a flurry of unfulfilling exertions to still the fear of abandonment and to attempt to survive in a world of our own making. So, we suffer. But, it is in our fleshly nature to look for pleasure and avoid suffering. That keeps us trapped in a place that prevents us from understanding, accepting and loving ourselves. Furthermore, the incessant search to soothe the flesh gnaws away at the joy in our spirit, which is toxic to the soul.

Sounds grim, yes? And that’s exactly the way our adversary wants to keep us:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times.  That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry] seeking someone to devour. 1 Pt. 5:8 AMP

Everyone suffers from this dilemma at one time or another; it’s only a matter of degrees.

We see then, why it’s so important for those who have been blessed with salvation to reach out to everyone sitting on the unsaved side on the fence, and show them the way of God’s grace towards their own healing. Of course, to be the most effective at the ‘Great Commission,’* we must have submitted ourselves for His healing as well.

* “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mk. 16:15 NKJV

So, going back to 1 Pt. 5:8 above, we see that to ‘be ‘sober, alert and cautious at all times’  (emphasis mine), demands that we live in the present moment rather than die in the ways of the past. We cannot connect with God or receive His gifts of salvation (healing, peace, revelatory guidance and eternal life but to name a few) unless we are living in the ‘here and now’ with Him.

No one knows us better than our Creator. That’s good because so many times we bury the past that drives us under many layers of unconsciousness. So, we can ask our blessed Mediator (Christ) to search our hearts and help us see the sources of our suffering and sorrow that robs us of the life He came to bring us.

“…know the God of your Father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” 1 Chr. 28:9 NKJV

…the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weaknesses…[knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf…And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will. And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Rom. 8;26 – 28. AMP

We’ve got to grab a hold of God while we still draw breath, praying for revelation about the strategies that we’ve constructed that keep us in the world of the past. And then we can pray with exactitude about how to take on godly characteristics to thrust that construct from our lives. Then, we will be free to serve God in freeing others with the same afflictions by leading them to His salvation.

It is in the telling of that redemption where we’ll find that the truth about salvation sells itself.

Salvation is that where God gives the breakers of His law another opportunity to reach righteousness through the gospel of Christ Jesus – freeing His children from His wrath of judgment, filling them with peace and joy of the Spirit.

It changes the recipient by filling his or her heart with love, saving them by freely granting them the righteousness the law demands that they could not possibly fulfill on their own.

For Christ is the end of the law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior]. Rom. 10:4 AMP

God loves everyone:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Pt. 1:2 – 4. NKJV

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Pt. 3:9 AMP

He is willing and waiting to bring everyone into His everlasting kingdom.

The only ones who will not gain entrance are those who steadfastly refuse to be saved. God will not violate free will, He won’t compel.

Indeed, this is why we must first teach others the Law of God so that they can see their utter helplessness to save themselves without His mercy. They must understand the deathly consequences of the contamination of sin. Then, the hearer can understand the need for Christ – first by gaining the knowledge of the gospel and then accepting it wholeheartedly by faith, whereby we receive and live under His grace and find our satisfaction in Him.

God wants you to rise above your worldly misery and accept His merciful gift of His Son’s work on the cross. He will never refuse you. He wants you to come to Him as you are, not as you wished you would be:

My [only] sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart [broken with sorrow for sin, thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise. Ps. 51:17 AMP

God is ready and willing to work with you – because He loves you so much…

Goodnight and God bless.

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January 17 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Two-Sided Salvation

I don’t mean that salvation has a double meaning. You are either saved or you’re not. What we will examine here is the state where you find yourself before you are saved (that which may drive some to finally seek salvation), and the transformed reality we step into once we receive it.

We are all born into sin:

…sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one able to stop it or escape its power], because all sinned. Sin was [committed] in the world before the Law [was given], but sin is not charged [against anyone] when there is no law [against it]. Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse – Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation]…through one trespass [Adam’s sin] there resulted condemnation for all men…through one man’s disobedience [his failure to hear, his carelessness], the many were made sinners… Rom. 5:12 – 14, 18-19. AMP

Adam’s sin thrust itself generationally upon all of us. Its grip takes hold as soon as we become aware of the Mosaic Law (the foundation of which is the Ten Commandments), when we become of an age where we can grasp right from wrong, at that moment when we tap into that same Law that God put in all of our hearts:

“I will put My law in their minds and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people…for they shall all know Me…” Jer. 31:33, 34. NKJV

Just how important is that Law?

“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days…” Dt. 32:47 NASB

We are born in sin, born in and bound by the Law until we receive the grace of God’s salvation through Christ; and we have this Law divinely implanted and innately available. Our obedience to this Law is tantamount to the quality and length of our lives.

Furthermore, add this to the mix:

“…it is He who gives to all [people] life and breath and all things. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times…This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they may grasp Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us.” Acts 17:25 – 27. AMP

“…God overlooked and disregarded former ages of ignorance; but now He commands all people everywhere to repent [that is, to change their old ways of thinking, to regret their past sins, and to seek God’s purpose for their lives], because He has set a day when He will judge the inhabited world in righteousness…” Acts 17:30, 31. AMP

So, God put an innate hunger in us that leads us to seek out our Creator. Further, He asks us to line up with Him, in order to be saved from His judgment that He will serve upon those who don’t.

Our hunger for answers show up as, ‘Who am I? What am I? Who created me? What is my purpose? What happens after I die?’

You can see how our ‘unsaved experience’ can cause one an enormous amount of consternation.

Our initial instinct, (thanks to Adam) is to seek out answers through the flesh, adding more sin to our dilemma. We feel condemned because of the Law God placed in our spirit that revealed our sin nature. We sin some more to assuage the feelings we endure, because of our condemnation, and we draw into ourselves to hide from what we may assume is an avenging God.

The Law was a gift of mercy. It showed us what was right and wrong. All we had to do was obey it, perfectly. Unfortunately, that has proved to be humanly impossible. So, the Law condemns us to death for disobedience. It promises us an eternal life yet doesn’t reveal a workable path to get there. But what God was trying to get us to see through the Law, was our immediate need for salvation – forgiveness to deliver us from the hopeless condition created by our Law-breaking.

I say ‘immediate need’ because we have no idea when we will depart from this earth; and if we haven’t embraced Christ before that time, we don’t get to ride that heavenly bus.

What God is doing through the conviction of the Holy Spirit is to reveal these things, so that we might be led to a genuine repentant state and take on a humility of the heart.

God sends His children out into the world with the gospel message, preaching His grace and loving-kindness in sending Jesus to save the hearers from condemnation through their having faith in who Christ is and what He’s done. And who is Christ? Is He not the author of our faith? (Heb. 12:2) He freely supplies the faith that you need.

The flesh has a far greater tendency to cling to the Law and reject God’s promise through Christ. Thus, we grab hold of the faith in our spirit and declare that our sin-debt, our death-debt, has been paid by the Son of God: “I have forgiveness of sins through Christ, having faith that He has transformed me from within.”

On the other side, when we receive our salvation, been forgiven our sins, we also have to take on living in a godly way to the best of our ability. Jesus will then bridge the gap where we fall short. In addition, we need to stay connected with God through His word, prayer and meditation so that we can know His will and realize what actions we need to take.

We need to take our minds off of ourselves and live a loving life of servitude. Our spiritual perfection only comes when we forget about perfecting ourselves, amassing possessions and follow in the footsteps of Christ.

We can then release ourselves from the concept of ‘mine,’ knowing that everything belongs to God in Whom we rest; thus, everything is ours without having to fret over the ‘rightful ownership’ of it.

Indeed, we are at our most free when we love God and accept His love and peace, even if we don’t see it manifest in the world. It is there in our spirit. God facilitates our reconciliation with ourselves, so that we may return to that wonderful person He made us to be. When we achieve this reconciliation, we are also one with Him. Then our old battles within can cease…

To be continued.

Goodnight and God bless.

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January 07 2017 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

It Has Never Been About God Versus Man

It’s always been about how God loves Man:

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love’]. We love, because He first loved us. 1 Jn. 4:18, 19. AMP

God loved us first. He created us in love; and He loves us now and for all eternity.

Sometimes, it’s about Man versus God because we have misconceptions about Him, which then breeds falsehoods that we believe about ourselves. It is when we become aware of these false divisions within, (especially those we think separate us from our Creator) that we come to a place where we can finally begin to be set free.

Freedom commences when we put a stop to the tumultuous cyclone that we subconsciously cloak our lives with – running around trying to do things that we think will improve ourselves or remold what we think we are. In this endless boondoggle, we lose ourselves in meaningless ‘doings’ instead of just being who God created us to be.

But we can’t do that if we don’t take the time to nurture our God-created self, which begins when we see and rise above what the world’s truth tries to impress upon us. All of the evil in the world is produced by the thoughts and actions of the collective subconscious of its inhabitants.

It is this same collective bottled up psyche, that peppers those who might entertain another way of being, with swirling thoughts of ‘conformity or else,’  – to keep these would-be ‘free thinkers’ in shackles by showering them with a deluded mass media and an educational process corrupted by government to bend the minds of the students into becoming a co-opted pool of non-thinkers.

We are lied to incessantly by those who choose to follow the god of this world. Lies breed violence – both towards others and against ourselves. Eventually, the pain of submitting to the world drives us towards false comforts – busyness, distractions and addictions, all of which add to the death of the free-thinking soul.

We must wake up from this nightmare, which can only happen when we return to our true selves. We need to turn ourselves towards Love (God) and become aware of how to tap into His presence on a continual basis, both to experience His love and to know and live out His purposes, which is the only path to true peace and joy.

It is our spiritual duty to learn to know God and how to identify ourselves in Him. When we do this in faith, we can exist in His love and walk along a path where we can spread this good news to others. We can chip away at the stranglehold our adversary has over those who have been blinded by ruthless and loveless domination, by helping them feel the love in the face of a world that denies it.

After all, you can’t just keep this love for yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be like the servant who received a talent (sum of money) and instead of investing it, he put it in a hole in the ground, more fearful of losing it rather than growing it for his employer. (Mt. 25:14 – 26.) Jesus told this parable to illustrate the following God principle:

“For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.” Mt. 25:29 AMP

To love is to share, yes? And when we live in God, accept His gifts (the foremost being Christ), and share them so that as many others as we encounter have the potential to receive God’s gifts as well, we will have been accepted – received His salvation, through our union with Him.

At the foundation of this peace from God, is the peace that He laid in the cornerstone of your being; and it is found when you recognize who you truly are and are meant to be, in Him. There can be no peace with anyone until you make peace with yourself, which comes by seeing yourself in the divine light of Christ.

As we’ve looked at before, God is in the business of reconciliation – so that we reconcile with Him, with all others and with ourselves.

In that healing, you will have achieved the peace that comes from finally being able to be yourself, wearing the mantle of sainthood that is conferred upon all of God’s children.

Then, there will be no more forms of  _____ v. _____ …

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith. Rm. 3:22 – 25. ESV

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we we’re all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:12 ESV

…that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 1 Cor. 12:25 – 27. NKJV

May we keep this in mind and come together at the start of the new year in this country under God…

Goodnight and God bless.

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December 29 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

Remembering Christ in Christmas

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the activities associated with the majority of the western world’s concept of Christmas (or the ‘holidays’ as many westerners refer to it), that perpetuates Santa Claus and leads them to losing themselves in the frenetic quest of purchasing the ‘right’ gifts.

The true gift of Christmas is God’s ultimate free bestowal of love to His greatest creations, which is that of the blessed hope of reconciliation with Him, both in this life and for all of eternity – granted to His children through Jesus Christ.

And it’s such a big gift. All we have to do is get out of our own way and remain focused upon the enormity of God ’s love expressed within His purposes for each of us, allowing ourselves to be the spiritual revelation of them as we are promoted, encouraged and expedited in our realization through the power or Christ within us:

I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of [facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill HIs purpose – I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infused me with inner strength and confident peace.] Phil. 4:12, 13. AMP

Focusing on the gift keeps us humble, knowing that we are, by ourselves, ineffective in God’s purposes until we recognize, invite, embrace and lay hold of God within us. And within that union, we finally attain a closeness with ourselves that we’ve so desperately sought, through the grace of Christ’s communion with us.

Only in the strength of that kinship can we rise above the fears generated by ourselves from the seeds of our exposure to this world, ascend above a frequent itch that calls us to apologize for who we are and find our fulfillment in the love of our Creator and His Son:

…present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be confirmed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. Rm. 12:1, 2. AMP

This Christmas gift of God’s grace is an offering of unity with Him as His child, which transcends us from what we’ve become to that which He created us to be in the first place – wise, free in His truth, and awakened in our fullest spiritual connection, thus knowing ourselves in Christ, conscious of the nature of God within us.

All in all, we’ve been given a part to play in increasing God’s kingdom by preparing others and ourselves for Christ’s return in the face of a worldly spirit that so desperately fears His coming.

Our Christmas gift has so many loving facets from a God who’s love towards us knows no bounds. Through Christ, He brings our lives to our ultimate fulfillment in Him – in His love, joy and peace as He sheaths us with His image. We are delivered by His grace from who we thought we were, so that we can live the life He meant us to have, through our spirit that is directed by yet another gift, the Holy Spirit.

Let us not also forget the part of the Christmas gift that is the mercy of God, which cleanses us from our sins perpetuated out of ignorance, through the blood of Christ, solely because He loves us so much, so that we can remain in His presence because He put Christ’s righteousness upon you.

All that God asks from you is to surrender yourself to His love. Why? Because He knows that there is no rest for you until you rest in Him.

Thus, we can move away from out old selves and into the living gift of resurrection, forgiveness, acceptance, peace and spiritual perfection…

Goodnight, God bless and Merry Christmas.

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December 22 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

God Yearns for Your Return

Return from what? Your foray into the ways of the world.

God loves you, and He yearns for your love in return. That’s why He gave you free will. If love isn’t freely given, it’s not love at all.

We were born into a love relationship with God; but as we grew older, we got sucked into the maw of worldly enticements from the adversary who walks this world and creates the mayhem within it. We fell into lockstep with the example set before us long ago by Adam and Eve.

They stepped into the ways of the world when they accepted the devil’s lie, essentially turning their backs on God, calling Him a liar in the process. And man’s behavior has gone south ever since.

During the time of Moses, God stepped in and left us a signpost, a way to prepare for the salvation through Christ. Why? It’s because God loves despite our sin. He wants to save everyone.

This signpost was the Law (outlined in the Ten Commandments). Not only did He send it’s dictates through Moses, He imprinted it upon our consciences:

“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life…” Dt. 30:14 & 19, 20. NKJV

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. Ps. 16:7 ESV

In other words, God imbued the rules for ‘right living’ upon our souls. Unfortunately, the Law was grossly corrupted by man over time, so that he could feel justified as he lived according to the desires of his flesh.

The Law and the Gospel are two entirely different doctrines. Yet they are equally necessary. You cannot understand the Gospel without knowing the Law; and without the Gospel, the Law brings no blessings.

Both are required for salvation. The Law gives us the understanding of why we need the Gospel, and the Gospel leads us to salvation. The Gospel makes no sense if we don’t understand the Law and how breaking it brings us such dire consequences that we cannot undo by ourselves.

The Law (the Old Covenant) reveals both the nature of sin and convicts us when we have taken it upon ourselves to engage in sinful activity – so that we become aware of our need for salvation. Yet, the only thing the Law offers for a path to redemption, is a dictate to follow it to the letter. That is not humanly possible. Until we accept Christ as our Savior, we cannot reach that perfection.

The Law convicts the Law—breaker,  not out of malice, but to nudge us towards the gospel. Until we make that journey to be perfected in the grace of God’s salvation, that conviction will bring with it guilt and shame. And that’s what keeps so many people from returning to their Father.

So we suffer; and we try to insulate ourselves from more suffering by pushing our misdeeds into our subconscious, with busyness, distractions and addictions – all the while engaging in self-flagellation. We yearn for love, but we cannot give it to ourselves because we’re too busy running from our guilt, which only leads to more sin as we try to insulate ourselves against our hurts. In other words, we keep digging a deeper hole.

If we continue to repeat these patterns, we will become both mentally and physically sick. This is not God’s plan. We have to recognize that we cannot work our way to salvation (by living in perfect adherence to the Law), and instead open ourselves up to the grace of God.

It’s hard because we think that we are unacceptable in God’s eyes. Nothing could be further from the truth. God yearns for and works at everyone’s return:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Pt. 3:9 ESV

God is in the business of reconciliation. Other than perpetually denying Christ, there is nothing that He will not wipe from your earthly slate if you come to Him with sincere confession and repentance.

We can bring our offenses before God so that He can remove them from His memory through the blood of Christ.

Sometimes however, we bury our deeds so deep in our subconscious that we need to ask Him to help us learn to be still (i.e. to meditate in His presence) so that He can reveal the wound we’ve been trying to hide from ourselves. Furthermore, we can ask Him to help us give to ourselves understanding, compassion and the insight to rise above our old self – giving ourselves those same things that He does. When we do that, we can forgive ourselves as well instead of making the work of the Cross for naught.

We are at cause for how we live out our lives and for the future that we create. Many times, those do not turn out as we had hoped because of the persistent thorn of our transgressions. Again, we suffer; and happiness is not possible in an environment that lacks understanding, love and compassion.

Yet suffering is the path that goads us to seek God. It also brings us compassion for ourselves and others when He helps us overcome it.

It is vital that we seek healing from the Lord. Avoiding our hurtful situations will never put us in a place where we can receive the heavenly balm that we require. The joy we seek comes when we let go of our own efforts, and give our burdens to Christ. (Mt. 11:30)

As we saw, the Law leads us to the salvation of the Gospel, and what a salvation that is! It is the saving perfection that God gives you through the blood of Christ – not something that you attain by yourself, but is a continual gift of His doing. (2 Cor. 3:18)

That doesn’t mean that you won’t keep making mistakes. There are still revelations to take in, faith to build, strengthening to make us more aware and formidable (by letting Christ fight our battles).

We make our greatest acknowledgment of the gift of God’s salvation when we fully accept that it’s about His doing at the Cross, His work through each of His children through Christ’s sacrifice and completely disregard our self-importance – looking to the Godhead for our purpose and joy.

God transferred every sin in the past, present and future of every person who accepts His Son, upon Jesus. Christ paid the total price for your transformation. He laid himself down willingly to face your punishment so that you might spend eternity with Him. He gave you life when all you had coming was death.

When you make that free-will decision to accept Christ for who He is, what He’s done, and what it all means, every obstacle that stands between you and God crumbles for good. It’s done. That’s all He has been asking of all peoples.

In fact, upon your salvation, God sees you as if you were His Son; and indeed, they have both taken up residence within you. You are a new creature in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV

So, what is your part in all of this? Thomas Merton said it best: “My job is to press forward, to grow inwardly, to pray, to break away from attachments, to defy fears, to grow in faith, to seek an entirely new dimension and perspective in my life, and let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest – to really desire this and to work for it.”

You are Christ-made acceptable to God, a true child of the Father.

Isn’t that exciting? After all, Jesus is the reason for this season, yes? MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Goodnight and God bless.

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December 18 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

We Make Spiritual Life Too Hard – part 2

There is no deed we can do that will make us spiritual. A spiritual life, in the Christian sense, is only gained when we connect with God through Christ and honor His word to the best of our ability.

As long as we do that, we needn’t have a continual dark cloud of worry over whether or not we will be the target of God’s wrath. God created you. He knows your limits and He accepts your best efforts.

The greatest condemnation you will ever experience is that which you lay upon yourself. However, if God loves and accepts you, shouldn’t you do that same? If you do that, and you walk in God’s ways, you can look forward to standing in front of the judgment seat of Christ, because all that is waiting for you is His welcome to your eternal rewards. Jesus exemplified this in the parable of the talents:

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ Mt. 25:21 NKJV

The ‘good servant’ was faithful over a few things (his best efforts), not over all things.

You are not charged by God to change anything about yourself; He is already at work in you, to bring your original perfection back to realization. (2 Cor. 3:17, 18.) In other words, you are already who God wanted you to be. He’s only removing the damage that the world has inflicted upon you.

What you are charged with, is testifying to His salvation. Period. And of course, if you are a living testimony, you are engaged in walking your best Christ-like walk. So, you can just relax and let God have the helm.

Martin Luther said, “The message of Christ was ‘Repent’ not ‘Be better!’ “

Luther also said this: “Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, just as I am your sin. You have taken upon Yourself what is mine and given me what is Yours. You have taken upon Yourself what you were not, and have given me what I was not.”

Doesn’t that make you grateful? It ought to lighten up your spiritual walk as well.

Our only major concern in this walk is to stick to the truth of God and deny that which opposes it (i.e. the lies of the enemy, who has already been defeated by the resurrection of Christ). In addition, we want to remain humble and teachable, so that we may receive God’s grace.

Satan lies in order to mold us into someone other than ourselves – to try to be something that we are not. When we attempt (and that in and of itself is always a struggle) to live out a false life with a false self, we are denying love for our true self. And that is the beginning of sin.

When we accept Christ, we die to that false self:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Eph. 4:7 NKJV

…you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. Eph. 4:17, 18. ESV

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph. 4:22 – 24. ESV

When we die to our false image (simply by rejecting the lies of our adversary), we, by embracing our true self and our birthright, become open to receive everything that God has to offer. And when we receive the love God has for us and put in us and we reciprocate by loving God and ourselves, our spirituality will flow out of us in service to our Creator – to enlarge His kingdom and make the world a better place.

Guess what? That’s the source of limitless joy – letting Christ live His life through you.

To have that joy and peace, we must continually remind ourselves of Jesus’ work on the cross. Thus, we need to drop any self-condemnation over past sins. Christ has cleaned that up through His blood, manifested when we open the door of our repentance; and He continues to do so whenever we need to rinse and repeat.

Drop the fear, because we cannot make ourselves righteous; only the mercy of our gracious God can do that.

Thomas Merton said, “The deepest communication is not communication; it is communion. We are already one, but we imagine that we are not. What we have to be is what we already are.”

Amen. In doing so, we renounce the ways of the world – letting loose of our obsession with its busyness and with its illusion of importance.

The spiritual life is God’s gift to you. He removes all the barriers that stand in the way of your receiving it. He did not set before you an arduous, exhausting and seemingly impossible task. God only asks you to live in His love and go forth and teach others how to do likewise…

Goodnight and God bless.

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December 08 2016 | experiencing god's love | No Comments »

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