Tuesday, April 21, 2009

He Made Things Right

"Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ." (Romans 3, The Message)

It's not only what He did for us then, it is about NOW. This day we are set right with God. This day He rejoices over you (& me) with joy (Zeph.3:17), because he has restored us to himself through the cross of Jesus Christ. :) There's no "earning" it. Forget "trying to measure up". Rather, set your thoughts on who God is and what He has done and is doing in your life. Embrace the gift He's given, and believe that you ARE covered 24-7-365 in the righteousness of Christ. He died to give you this gift. And he rose from the dead triumphing over the power of sin and death. He made us free from the slavery of sin & death. He is alive, calling us to walk with him today by the power of his Spirit dwelling in us. (Romans 8) :)

"What we've learned is this: God does not respond to what WE do; we respond to what God does. We've finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting HIM set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade... By shifting our focus from what we do to what GOD does, don't we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? NOT AT ALL. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it." (Romans 3, The Message)

"This is why THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PROMISE DEPENDS ENTIRELY ON TRUSTING GOD AND HIS WAY, and then SIMPLY EMBRACING HIM AND WHAT HE DOES." (Romans 4, The Message) I'm no longer trying to "toe-the-line". I am learning to be a child of God. "In HIM we live, and move, and have our BEing."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Who Is God To You?

Who Is God To You?

The most important thing in your life is what you think about God. Who is God to you? Do you see Him as a cosmic sugar-daddy, “Mr. Big”, a strict, disciplinarian-type father? Do you see Him as a cosmic kill-joy? Do you think He’s so loving “it’s all good”? Or maybe, you feel that He doesn’t give a rip about us, or what’s going on down here on planet earth? Whatever it is you believe about God is what has formed your life to the shape it is in today. What you think about God determines your attitudes, and the beliefs that you base your decisions on.

If you could ask Him for the one thing you really need from Him today, what would it be? You need to think about that, because He is real. He does care. And He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Does God seem distant? Is He hard to understand? If the only language you know is English, it’s going to be hard for you to communicate with someone who only speaks French. The Bible tells us that God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah) They are higher, and far better than ours. We get very frustrated when we try to make God like us…pulling Him down to our level, expecting Him to do, and think the way we do. He does want us to get to know Him, to learn His ways, for us to begin seeing His perspective.

We need to know His mind. We need to learn the “languages” He speaks. How can we do that? 1 Corinthians 2:16 says “…Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” In verse 14, we are told that the things of God are spiritually discerned. Often times we are so earth-bound in our thinking, so wrapped up in our carnal mindsets, that we cannot understand what God is trying to say to us.

Free your mind! Abandon your old ways of thinking and doing. Let go of your own thoughts and imaginations, so that you are able to receive what God wants to show you, to teach you. Sometimes we come to God and are so full of what we think, feel, and want; that we never quiet ourselves and listen to what God has to say. We go to Him because we need Him…His love, advice, direction, etc. He doesn’t need to learn about who we are. We need to learn about who He is, and who He wants to be to us.

In the Psalms, David wrote about being alert to God’s ways. “I don’t take God for granted” he says. “Every day I review the ways He works; I try not to miss a trick.” (Psalms 18, The Message) Farther on, David says “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.” David didn’t have his own Bible to tote around, and search through at his leisure. You do (or you can). If you want to know God, if you want to know who He is and who He wants to be to you right now; you need to have a relationship with Him.
Ritual and duty must be cast aside. You need to open up the Bible, ask Holy Spirit to lead and guide you to the things God wants to speak to you through His Word, and read it. Then read it again. Remember, He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Jesus said seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened, just ask and it shall be given. You will find He is the most generous Person you’ve ever known. God wants you to know Him in a very real way. Jesus died on the cross to make the way for us, to bridge the gap between human beings and God.

A few ideas… Begin by asking Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into all the truth. The Bible says He will. He may do this many different ways. A local Bible study, listening to Bible teachers/preachers on tv, radio, on books, tapes, cd’s, and dvd’s. Sometimes you just have to open up your Bible and read until something jumps out at you. God doesn’t always have you seek Him in the same way.

When He shows you that verse, or those verses that really catch your attention, read them and re-read them. Read them again and again, giving your full attention to what you are reading. Ask God how it applies to you, your life right now. Ask Him what He is trying to show you. Ask Him how He wants you to respond to this word He’s speaking to you. Write down the verses He leads you to, what you feel He was saying, etc. These are your notes to refer to later on, to remind yourself of what God has been saying and doing in your life. It will encourage you, and stir up your faith in Him. David wrote about encouraging himself in the Lord. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing, and hearing the Word of God. Writing down what you feel He’s saying to you will help you remember it when you need it later on. Sometimes our “hearing” comes by reading, writing, and repeating it to ourselves.

For example, read 1 John 3:1… “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God…”. Now, let’s chew on that a bit. “Behold”… look at this! Look at the Love Father God has for us… that He would (through the blood of Jesus Christ) make us sons of God, joint-heirs with Jesus! (Romans) Think about this LOVE. Who am I that I should be called a (daughter) son of the Living God? I am one of those spoken of… “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. I am completely bankrupt of any ability to be “good enough”. I have a tendency to lean in the wrong direction without His constant help, support, and empowerment. Yet, He values me, and calls me to walk with Him. J

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for loving me, that just like the shepherd You spoke of who left his 99 to go find that one little lost lamb; You sought me out, bought me with Your own blood, and restored me to the most safe and secure place I could be…in You.

Who are you? Do you realize that there is NOTHING you can do or say to redeem yourself? You can never be “good enough”. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) God is the Judge who passed our sentence, but He also sent His only Son to pay our penalty. Jesus didn’t come to make us the “red-headed step-children” of His family. He came to make us sons of God, a kingdom of priests (every one of us) to our God. (Revelation 1:6)

There’s an old song that says “It would have been enough, if He brought life. It would have been enough, if He brought hope. It would have been enough, if He brought power; but He put laughter in my soul.” This speaks of the generosity of God. He gives above and beyond the “call of duty”. He doesn’t owe us ANYTHING; but He’s given us EVERYTHING.

Do you see how just one verse can lead you into deep thought about how God loves you? One verse can lead you into very intimate moments with God. Moments in which you are open to receive His love for you, and loving Him right back. J

This is one way God leads us, and speaks to us. When He says something, it speaks volumes…so much that it cannot be taken in all at once. He’s a patient and excellent Teacher. He will repeat things to us as many times as we need Him to, ‘til we “get it”. He may speak one or two things to you over and over again for months at a time.

You may have the impression that you ought to read the whole Bible. Just thinking about it may seem daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with God’s word and His ways. (It seems daunting to me, and I grew up in it.) Of course, it is a good idea, and definitely worth while. But follow your Leader, Holy Spirit. There’s no rush to “grow up” in God. And you aren’t going to learn all there is to know about Him, His ways, His heart’s desires overnight. As you keep following after Him, He will lead you and you will grow. J

Read the Bible cover to cover, if you feel led to do so. But, pay close attention to the parts He is speaking to you right now. He’s speaking it to you now, not only for what you’re going through today; but also for what you will face in the future. He’s giving you something solid to stand on, because in life we all face storms that threaten to crush our very lives. God says “follow Me”, not because He’s on some power-trip, but because He’s the only Way. God bless you on your journey in discovering all that He wants to be to you!

~Marcy Ellis, revised April 2009~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Great Love!

There is absolutely nothing in me, myself that would enable me to "be like Jesus". I can see His way is best, but I have no strength or power of my own that would enable me to overcome my old sin nature to walk with Him, His way. God's heart is so big. His love is so fiercely passionate toward us. He does work to save us to the uttermost. HE saw me struggling, frustrated, broken, and He made a way for me where there was no way. He came Himself, suffered, and died many times over before He ever reached the cross. Showing me (us) what it is to follow the Father, dying to self. Then He died on the cross, and broke once and for all the power of sin and death over my live (our lives).

He wrapped me... one who was dirty, naked, blind and deaf, in His robes of righteousness. He let me know that I no longer needed to "try to be", I could cease from my "dead works". Now I know that by faith I am made righteous by the blood of Jesus. By faith I see that I am grafted into the Vine (Jesus) with His divine dna being pumped into my earthen vessel. Therefore I am now empowered, by His Spirit living and working in me; to live, move and have my being in Him. He overcame it all. He dwells in me by His Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead works in me. Therefore, I can now overcome EVERY thing that would hinder me from walking in His ways. I can now overcome every sin that once so easily tripped me up, and kept me down.

I am valuable because He values me, loves me. I adore Him, cuz He adored me first. :D I gave up "trying", to embrace what He is doing in my life. I stopped "trying", and began allowing Him to have His way. I stopped coming to Him as a beggar, and began behaving as tho' I believed what He said about me. I am His child, and He is my Papa. He won't withhold any good from me, and He works everything to my good. Now I watch for what He's doing, looking to cooperate with His plans and purposes.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed that we should be called sons of God!"
1 John 3 Thank You, Abba, for Your great big love!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your Life Says It All

In my journey through life, I try to walk with God, to follow after Him/His ways, as best as I can understand how to do that. Along the way, people have been offended at me, misunderstood where I'm coming from, and even at times, attacked me for the way I was/am living. I have learned that I can't control what others think of me, and not to worry about it. As long as I know that the air is clear between me and God, that He is "happy" with where I'm at, I keep on keeping on. Whatever change He wants to bring in me (and in others' lives), He will let me (us) know. He's been "Shepherding" for a very long time. He knows what He's doing, and doesn't require human supervision. :)

There are times when it seems like the air around me is filled with noise. So many voices shouting what they want, think, and feel... demanding equal time for their perspective to be heard. That's cool, but sometimes it only stirs up confusion. When I have spent too much time in my own head, thinking and talking about my opinions and views, I get tired of it. I want to hear God's voice over and above every other voice... including my own. When I hear Him, whether He is correcting or disciplining me or just encouraging me to continue on... His voice is life, hope, peace, joy and love. When He speaks, I know He loves me. I am refreshed, restored, and invigorated just by the sound of His voice.

A neat story...

“The eagle wasn’t always the eagle. Before it became the eagle it was Yukatangee, the Talker. It talked and talked. It talked so much it heard only itself, not the river, not the wind, not even the wolf.

The raven came and said, ‘The wolf is hungry. If you stop talking, you’ll hear him… the wind, too. And when you hear the wind, you’ll fly.’

So it stopped talking, and became its nature… the eagle. The eagle soared. And its flight said all it needed to say.”

Northern Exposure, Season 5
“Birds of a Feather”
character: Marilyn Whirlwind

When we begin to value the sound of His voice above all others, to become still ourselves, and listen to what God is saying... we begin to discover more of who He is, & who we really are in Him. And we are able to take flight. Isaiah 40:31 "Those who hope in Adonai will renew their strength, they will soar aloft as with eagles' wings...". Doing the will of the Father, as Jesus did himself, flows naturally out of the intimacy of being with Him, learning to BE His child, learning to walk in His ways.

People will not always understand or approve. They may judge and criticize. That's alright. Heck, we're all fallen, and in need of God's grace. :) But I'm gonna keep on pressin' deeper in, pressing farther on into the life God's calling me to live in Him. Those who follow after Him, seeking to know the Truth, and live life His way will not be put to shame for doing so. Isaiah 54:4 "Don't be afraid, for you won't be shamed...". At some point, people will begin to see your "flight pattern", and they will realize it really is God at work in you/your life. It's not all about you and me, anyway. It's about Him, people seeing the Lord, and coming to know who He really is, who He really wants to be to us/in our lives.

I'm not saying we never need to speak... preach, teach, and/or share our testimony of who God is to us. I'm saying that sometimes we get in the way of what God is wanting to do. Sometimes, we enjoy the sound of our own voices too much. We, sometimes, give too much thought to what we think, feel, and want; and what others think. Sometimes, in order for others to see Jesus in our lives, all we need to do is shut up and fly.

Live it, breathe it, believe it.