Saturday, August 22, 2015

"No despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.."

I love this quote from Thomas Merton about all of us being part of God's dance!  I can let go of trying to understand it all and just get carried along by the Dancer and enjoy the Dance!  Life is so precious, so beautiful..something to treasure and savor, not analyze and categorize.  Life is meant to be lived, a Gift is meant to be enjoyed, a Dance is meant to be danced!  I love the carefree abandon of the Grace Dance we are all caught up in, whether we are aware of it fully or not..yet when the light of Grace breaks like dawn upon our hearts, how wonderful to let go of our works and thoughts and struggles and just watch ourselves flow with the Dancer in HIs beautiful Dance!  It's always so playful and light with Him, all earthbound heaviness somehow rising in the lilting buoyant arms of the Dancer as He holds us, swings us high, laughs with great laughter like bells ringing, and twirls us around in LOVE!
Here is Merton's wonderful quote to savor:
"What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
"For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
"Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance."
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wonderful Quotes on Our True Self

I love these uplifting quotes on our True Self that I recently read in a devotional by Richard Rohr, and so I wanted to share them here.  It is such a comfort and joy to know that our True Self at our deepest core is Spirit of His Spirit!  Christ in us, making us who we are, Christ in us, the hope of glory - glory already in us, one day to be fully revealed!

"I have the immense joy of being [hu]man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now [that] I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. . . [This realization] was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God's eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time....We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time."
Thomas Merton

"At the center of our being is a point ... which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, ... which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point ... is the pure glory of God in us. . . . It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely."  
Richard Rohr

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How Can I Love and Forgive Myself?

I'm posting this as something I wrote in response to the question:  "How can I love and forgive myself?  What do we do when we don't see that change that we hope to see, and have trouble loving and forgiving ourselves for our messups?  Here are some of my thoughts, for this is something I have struggled with so much throughout the years..

I know this may sound crazy, but one thing that really seemed to be a turning point for me was when God showed me that all will be well for all people, that ultimately all will be with Him in heaven. This happened during a time of personal crisis when both my dad and grandma were very ill (and my grandma passed away)..God just spoke to me within in such a deep and wordless way, letting me experience eternity somehow.  I can't explain it.  But I just knew that everything was okay and that everything will be okay for everybody. It was like a glimpse of heaven.  I can't explain it!  But it was a very powerful thing and went along with some things God was teaching me about His true character and about how He sees people, about our true character or nature.

I know a lot of people don't believe that everyone will be with God eventually, and I was brought up to believe in a eternal conscious torment in a literal fiery hell...but I really believe that the God I've experienced has shown me otherwise.  Once I experienced this from God, this inner knowing that everything will be okay ultimately for me and for all people, it was like I could finally relax.  I could finally trust God, trust His love for me, and somehow that opened me up to love myself.  Because I was seeing that we are all His children, all created by Him, loved by Him, and yes we've wandered from Him in our thoughts and deeds, forgotten the Father who gave us birth, but He'll bring all of us back to enjoying our place of belonging in His arms..we're all His kids, always were, always will be...and just like any good Daddy, He wouldn't ever turn His back on His children, wouldn't ever be happy till all were safely home with Him enjoying life in His palace!

And this is the other big thing for me - since we're all from God, we're all good deep down, not bad..we are all in His image of love and goodness..we're good-natured, naturally kind and loving..our deep down character as God created us is love, since we are children of Mr. Love Himself and take after our dad!  We've just forgotten where we came from, forgotten who our Father is and thus forgotten who we are.  We've been so confused, 'alienated in our minds' from the truth, not being able to enjoy the relationship with Him that was always ours for the enjoying.  But Jesus came to dispel the lies, to free us from them, most of them caused by religion, and set us free by showing us the truth - that He sees us all innocent, and even when we do the most heinous acts (like killing God's own Son for instance!) He just says, "They don't know what they're doing."  We're His good little ones, He sees no wrong in us, and there's no wrong in Him, no angry or vindictive or punishing side, just pure love.  Love that brings everybody home.

It makes everything so wonderful and has helped me so much!  But that is just my story.  And that's only part of my journey.  Also, everybody has their own journey and I don't know what means God will use to bring you to rest.  But I do know He will take care of you.  And that it doesn't matter what you do, or if you ever change, or even if you are ever able to consistently love yourself all the time I just know it is okay, we can let ourselves off the hook, we are not our thoughts or actions..we are who we are deep down, in our spirit which is one with God's Spirit..we are His pure innocent good children constantly under His loving care!  Everything is okay, and everything will ultimately be okay!  I just know that is true now, I can't explain how but it has made a big, big difference for me.

I feel like we are all on a wonderful journey together!  Wonderful too that there is nowhere to go on this journey, it's simply a journey of discovery as we discover where we already are - in Christ, and He in us! 

One thing I do want to add is that in the past I've had the idea that if I just believed in grace right or loved myself enough, I'd see my actions all line up with godliness, overcome my hangups, and have victory.  But now I see that is performance thinking I am having.  I want to not think about performance at all, not worry about change at all!  Sure some things about me would be good to change.  But that really isn't my concern.  My eyes are to just be on Christ and I am to just enjoy life knowing all is well, that all is complete and I am fine.  Change is the business of the Spirit.  My business is just basking in His love!  Being a branch is so easy, I love it! It has nothing to do with religion, change, performance, getting better, or getting some victory.  It's not about finally 'getting there' spiritually.  The whole point is we are already there, lol!  What a relief! 

It's like I've been shown that I can separate my actions, thoughts and feelings from my real and true Self..that my mind and body aren't my true Self, my true Self is Spirit, which is my core and the deepest part about me. This core needs no improvement.  This core does nothing wrong, just IS LOVE!  This core is one with God, is Spirit of His Spirit, one Spirit!  I can thus see my acts and thoughts to be the products of mind and body, which to me are like the house that the real Me lives in, or the machine I use to operate in this visible world.  I don't have to get mad at the mind and body, just see it isn't really ME and love and sympathize with it as it reacts to things in this world based on whatever input its received, whether the input is truth and loving experiences or whether the input has been pain, rejection, lies, or performance teaching.  This has freed me so much.  It has helped me see how I can say I'm perfect and everything is all right, even if the outer shell/outer life looks like an absolute mess, lol!  The goal has changed somehow.  The goal isn't to get the outside to 'look right and act right' all the time.  The goal is now to just enjoy life, to live!  To just BE!  For everything really IS okay deep down, and I can live out of that reality, for that IS what is truly real!!

Someone told me once when I was in the middle of a crisis time, "Just remember, everything is perfect."  It stuck with me so much.  There's nothing wrong with me or my life!  All is well deep down!  That has freed me so much to be able to give myself a break and be able to talk to my mind/body so kindly and say these words:

"Hey, it's okay you just blew it.  I love you and I'll stick with you.  I understand why you acted that way.  You've had a lot of hurts in your past and heard a lot of religious lies.  I care about you and just want you to know I"m here for you and accept you as you are.  You are safe and you are known and you are loved.  I love you just the way you are!"

I love being able to say this to myself, to my hurting mind, for the first time ever!

So these are some of my thoughts on letting go of wanting change and just being able to love myself..

And I want to say that if you believe differently, hey, that is great and I am respectful of everyone's beliefs.   I hope I have not offended anyone by what I have written here.  These are just expressions of where I am in my understanding right now and I could be wrong.  I want everyone to know how much I love and respect and honor you all, whatever your thoughts and beliefs are!  We are one in Him and filled with His love, and all the differences of opinion fade into nothing in the light of His Presence in us!  Sending love to one and all from Sparrow!

On finally being able to love myself..

How do we get to the point of really letting go of performance thoughts and being able to love and forgive ourselves?  How do we get to the point where we stop seeking change and are finally okay with ourselves and find that life is okay?

Well, I don't have many answers, and as the years go by, I have more questions than answers!

And yet, as the years go by, I find it is okay to have questions and I am more okay with having them and not having to know all the

But back to the question of how do we get to the point where we really 'get' grace and see it make a difference in our lives, stop struggling and start loving ourselves and living by grace?

First, I don't think there's any goal to reach for really.  We are already fine.

But we don't see that sometimes and we live in heartache.  I've been there, been there for years, for decades really!

But God shows us the truth!  He brings our hearts to rest.  "The Spirit led them and brought them to rest."

To be honest, what brought me such relief was going through the valley of my grandmother's passing away.  God just held me through it all and it was like He showed me eternity, let me experience eternity, deep within with Him.  I can't explain it, but after that I just knew everything was okay and everything will ultimately and finally be okay, and I was able to rest and be.  I just disconnected from all mental thoughts and struggles about grace and law and religion and love and just lived my life.  I talked to God if I wanted to and didn't talk to Him if I didn't feel like it.  I just lived.  And there was such healing in that!  But it was something God did, by grace.  I didn't make it happen.  It happened to me. God happened!  And I believe He is happening to you and will bring you the peace you desire and the love for yourself, the forgiveness of yourself that you desire. 

I have struggled with loving and forgiving myself.  But somehow I love myself!  I think when God just brought me through that valley with my grandma's passing into eternity, it was just me and Him and I was outside of religious thoughts, and I found myself in the real world, not the fake one of religion.  I was my real Self.  Innocent and simple and with God.  And I could look onto my mind, my thoughts and feelings and feel the pain of that 'self' and know it wasn't the real, deep Me.  And I could see it as the hurting little child it was.  My poor mind just got beaten down by religion for so many years, I have such pity on my mind and its thoughts.  When I react poorly or irritably, I can know that is because I was told I was 'bad' for so many years, I was told God was 'bad' (not in so many words, but you know what I mean, I was told He was watching my behavior and would punish me if I messed up, so He seemed fearful and angry and 'bad')..all my crazy thoughts and behaviors come from those past lies of believing I wasn't loved or even lovable.  I can pity my poor mind that was brain-washed like that, I can hold my little thought-and-feeling self and rock that little one back and forth and comfort her in her fears and anguish.  I can tell her it's okay, that I love her and that everything is all right, she is okay, she is innocent, she is loved, she is not alone, she'll never be abandoned or forgotten or hurt.  She is safe.  She is home.  Our hearts need to hear that message, don't they? It helps me just to say it to my mental self, just to tell myself it's okay and I love you and I won't leave you.  That's God word to me and that's my word to me, to my mind.  My real self is Spirit and my real self talks to my mind and calms it down.  I am not my thoughts and feelings.  I am spirit/Spirit.  I am eternally okay.  And I can love myself, the one that thinks and feels and goofs up.  And I can just let that little one just BE, let her make mistakes, rant and rave, cry and howl or laugh and dance, let her live.  She won't ever 'act perfectly' or 'think perfectly' as long as she exists in this world with her set of memories, past experiences, outside influences, etc.  But that is fine.  Life here is messy, turbulent, crazy.  Yet it is crazy wonderful!  It is precious and great and beautiful and wild!  It is worth that pain for all the glory that is being revealed right here in the midst of this time and space world, this place where heaven keeps bursting through the cracks of matter and glowing from beneath our skins!

Heaven is touching earth from within us.  There is an infinite spring of love within us.  An infinite Being of love.  We are part of Him, and He is part of us.  Relationship. Union. Belonging. Fellowship without trying to fellowship.  Love without trying to Love.

Wow!  We can just live, just be, just enjoy life for once!

Life is precious, Love is precious, God is precious, WE are precious!

Thank You, Papa!

I love life, I love You, I love others and I love myself!

Jesus Came to Shatter the Lie of Religion

He came to shatter the lie of religion and He did it by His loving act on the cross, calling us innocents when we aimed our worst behavior at Him, calling us beloved and bringing us with Him into a new kind of living where the illusion of religion doesn't exist, only love.

Reality is what He brought our confused minds into!  We had been mentally living in illusions and He woke us up to reality - we are loved, we are innocents, we are God's children, we are part of Love Himself and Christ is in us, in us, IN us!

We are Spirit, not flesh!

There's eternity in our hearts, always has been, always will be!

We are IN Him, and therefore safe, always have been, always will be!

We are good little children of God, good and not bad, for God 'made man just' not unjust!

We are vindicated, proven to be in the right, exonerated, proved innocent, proven to be beloved of the Father Himself, His very own children, with His Life coursing through us, with His very Being as our core, His own Spirit as our spirit, the Tree of Life within us, within us!

We take one bite of that delicious Spirit within us and we just LIVE that life that has always been us, we just ARE the people we always have been, we just EXUDE the God-life that's always been in us, as us..

This is Eternal Life, just to know and experience Him within, where He's always been, as the deepest part of us, an infinite sea of Love that has always been at our core!

To swim in that sea of Love and Life and BEing and Grace..
To float in those liquid arms of Love, to be buoyed up by that current of Grace..
To just BE is so rich and wild and free because to BE, to LIVE is Christ, and to die is simply to gain infinitely more experience of that which is already true within - we are alive in Him, and He is alive in us..
This is the true life, life eternal, rich and and boundless and free!

We are Outside of Religion..We are Inside of Grace..and Everything is Perfect..

I don't know much, but I do know that nothing is wrong with us or our lives.  There is not some magical thing we need to finally 'do' or think or some hurdle in understanding we need to finally get over and then we'll be different and better and changed.  We are fine right now.  Right now we are complete.  Right now we are perfect!  This is a relief to me.

Outside of religion, there are no demands.  No standards to measure up to.  No judgments on us.  We are outside of religion.  We are always in the realm of grace, for that's really and truly the only REALITY there is!  Grace was always reality, religion was the illusion, the lie!

There are always things I may need to change about my behavior.  But there is nothing wrong with me as a person!  Isn't this wonderful?  I am so tired of trying to improve and change and get to the next level.  I am so tired of wondering when grace will finally 'work' for me and I'll be victorious and 'better.'  But what if grace has been working all along?  What if I'm already perfect and have been all along?  Haha, it is such a sweet relief! 

I have seen myself as needing to overcome something bad within me, some bad nature or whatever..but what if all along I've been good?  What if I have only needed to realize this, and then I can enjoy living?

Let's separate ourselves from our thoughts.  We are not our thoughts or feelings.  We are not our body or mind.  Those are like computers that work for us, taking in data and putting out responses, based on whatever is stored in the memory and based on neural pathways set up in the mental system through years of experiences.  But that is not ME, that is not YOU, we are spirit..always were and always will be.  We are beautiful and holy and perfect and complete children of God with perfect and loving natures.  We never had a bad thought, never did a bad deed. We are pure LOVE, just like our Father in whose image we were made and from whom we came forth.  We have always been pure love. 

There has never been a law upon us.  There has always been love upon us, understanding and sweetness and light.  We ARE light!  WE ARE understanding and love and kindness!  Made out of Love, we ARE Love! We proceed from our Father like branches from a vine and have the same nature, same character, same beauty and splendor and grace in us!  We are part of God and therefore can't be bad, don't need changing or improving,  are perfect and lovely and good.  

We can turn around and love our mind, our feelings, our thoughts.  We can love our body when it does wrong things, based on years of living in fear and religious thoughts.  We can sympathize with the mind even if it continues having the wrong thoughts.  Even if the mind and body keep on playing out the same dumb ideas and actions, borne from years of believing lies and putting ourselves down as 'evil sinners that deserve punishment'..we can sympathize and take pity on our poor minds that have been so confused by religion, that have been taught performance-based acceptance or no acceptance at all..that have been fed a picture of God that is so two-faced it would drive anyone mad, a god who is called 'Love' but hates those who cross him, is constantly judging and criticizing, and vindictively punishes anyone who does not come up to an impossible standard.  No wonder we have problems with believing in unconditional love!!  Anybody would!  Especially those of us raised in the church!  We can just hold and love and caress our poor distraught minds because they have been put through so much! 

The best thing we can do is get away from religion, as far as we can, as much as we can.  And just be.  Just let ourselves be.  We are just where we are meant to be with God.  We aren't needing to change.  We aren't needing to believe more.  We don't have to wish for some future day when we'll be okay.  We ARE okay.  Now.  Always have been.  Always will be.

God will speak to us, is speaking to us.  God has been in us all along.  There is a secret place in us so full of beauty and light it would take one's breath away to just glance at it sideways!  There is an infinite ocean of love and beauty within us, and it is heaven in us, God in us, the Spirit in us, our true Self!  We are in touch with God always.  We are part of God, a wave on the ocean of the Eternal, rising and falling in sync with His great breath, looking out on the world through His eyes, one in Spirit with Him, one heart with THE Heart of Love that beats for this world in complete, utter, beautiful, terrific GRACE!

Even if we don't get over that bad habit, that addiction, that fear.  Even if we never seem to love ourselves enough.  Even if we can't understand grace, or God, or earthly relationships, or how our own minds tick.  Even if we blow it, never 'amount to something' in this world, never make an earthly friend, never 'produce' anything down here.  No matter what, everything is perfect.  Everything is okay!  We are home, we are part of the infinite Love that made the universe, that beats within us, that never has let us go and never will because we are part of His very own heart, part of His sweet gentle breath, part of His own Being of Life! 

We can't be anywhere else but in Him and can't be anyone else but His own children. Religion can try to tell us otherwise but we know we're just not part of that.  It was all a lie and is now exposed as the illusion it was.  We have always been in Grace, part of Grace, living in Grace, exuding Grace, supported by Grace, carried along by Grace, even BEING GRACE!  We can't be anything else BUT the gracious, loving, good and perfect onces God made us to be as part of His very own Self, His kids, proceeding forth from the Father, His beloved children in whom He is well pleased, for as Jesus is, so are we in this world!  We are 'little Christs' and have in Christ the picture of ourselves.  The cross and empty tomb stand as testaments to the fact of God's love for us, proving forever that we really ARE His beloved children in whom He is well-pleased, with whom and in whom He is pleased to dwell, on whom His favor rests, innocent ones who 'don't know what we are doing,' justified (exonerated, proved innocent, proved to be in the right) against any charge made by religion about us at all!!  The alienation was in our mind but never in reality.  Union was always reality.  Law was the lie.  Grace was always the truth.  He proved it to us at the cross by grace and He shows it to us in real time by grace.

When it comes right down to it, God loves us.  He loves us into rest.  He loves us into experiencing His love.  He loves us into loving ourselves.  He loves us into healing.  He loves us into waking up from the nightmare of religion.  He loves us into experiencing the reality of life in His garden of grace.  He does it all.  It's all grace and always was.  Grace has always been carrying us along, getting us to whatever experiences of God we need, bringing us through whatever life throws at us, pulling us through to the other side, bringing us safely home at the end. Everything is deeply okay, and everything will be ultimately okay.  God makes sure of it.  We are safe and always were.  He just IS Himself in us and we know it and all is well.  All is well!  Every day is an adventure, every day is a precious gift, to be enjoyed, savored, relished, celebrated!  We are free to enjoy life.  We are free to finally just LIVE it!  Life is so precious.  People are so precious.  God is so precious and wonderful.  This is the life, this is grace!

Friday, June 5, 2015

What Jesus Is Saying to Us Through the "Washing of the Disciples Feet"

Jesus washed the disciples feet..what was He saying through that act of servanthood and humility?  I love what my friend Woolly hears Him saying to us in that act:

“You might not understand what I’m doing now, but you will, you’ll get it yet. See, a person’s feet get dirty from the journey that they are on, but not the rest of him/her. By what I’m doing here on this Earth, living and dying for you, I’m going to show you that you are already clean and that you’ll only get dirty from the journey that you’re on.
While you’re on your journey through this world you’ll feel pretty dirty on the outside, all of those outside bits, the bits that are outside of your heart, outside of that special place where we already are One. Those bits that are subject to the troubles of this world, your faults, your failings and how you feel because of your circumstances or upbringing or religion or culture, all of the things which are put upon you by forces outside of your control, they’ll all make you feel unclean, but you’ll come back to me and I’ll make you clean once again.
I want you to go and live and whenever you get dirty, go and find me in each other and let them clean you up once again, let them remind you of who you really are deep down underneath all the layers, all of the dirt. If you can, go and find me in a still place and remember who you are, who I say you are. And don’t worry, I’ll see you again, one day all the layers will fall away once again and you’ll plainly see that there was nothing to fear all along the way.”

Isn't this such a relief to know?  The dirt and grime we see, that makes us feel we are so dirty, is only outer muck and unrelated to the treasure we truly are beneath.  Through it all, we've never been anything but clean and holy deep down.  Jesus knew that all along, and He makes sure we know it, too.  To realize this in the ultimate way is to truly know that "There was nothing to fear all along the way.."  :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carried Along In His River of Grace And Love!

Here are two wonderful quotes from Richard Rohr that I found recently, from his book "Everything Belongs:"

“Faith does not need to push the river precisely because it is able to trust that there is a river. …the river is flowing; we are in it. The river is God’s providential love – so do not be afraid.”

"Everything belongs; God uses everything. There are no dead ends. There is no wasted energy. Everything is recycled. Sin history and salvation history are two sides of one coin. When you "get" forgiveness, you get it. We use the phrase "falling in love." I think forgiveness is almost the same thing. It's a mystery we fall into: the mystery is God. God forgives all things for being imperfect, broken and poor. The people who know God well- the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God - always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is a lover who receives and forgives everything."

Richard Rohr

A Wonderful Email Conversation

I wanted to share part of a wonderful conversation I had recently with a good friend about how Love ultimately wins all hearts.. how wonderful to know that, as Julian of Norwich said, "All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well."


It seems as though God never really thought of any of His children as "sinners', in His eyes we were probably always His beloveds. Even more fascinating is how Brian Zahnd writes about how God never once viewed us as needing forgiveness, or even willed for Jesus to die. We were the ones that killed him, yet God's love is fully depicted in that moment, since He essentially says "you can even kill me and I still love you, which proves that I have loved you all along". I once heard someone say that Jesus never came to reconcile us to an angry dictator, He only came to reveal a loving father. The post on your blog really underscored that for me.

It seems as though Grace just keeps getting better and better, and I'm finally seeing how all-encompassing it is. Really, no one is outside of the Grace of God, since everyone ends up happy in heaven with Him. And His love is truly the most freeing force on this universe. It is not coercive in the least, it is such a gentle, kind-hearted love akin to that of a lover, best friend, and parent. God never requires anything from us, freely offering us His life and unconditional love. He never asks that we continuously beg for forgiveness or even have any consciousness of our actions (good or bad), for our true worth and His love for us far supersede any of our actions.There is no "expectation" from us, He simply wants us to know that we are already in union with Him and we can now enjoy life, in spite of any hardships, since peace, love, joy and happiness already exist within us. And He is always taking care of us and our needs :) It is the best news!

Have you ever heard the song "You Got it" by Ray Orbison? It's an older song, from 1989, and though the lyrics have more romantic connotations, I couldn't help but think how it's almost like a love song from Jesus to us. The refrain goes,

"Anything you want, you got it
 Anything you need, you got it
 Anything at all, you got it."

It kind of made me think about how that's probably what God would say to us, He has already given us everything and more, by gifting us with His life within us, which is truly the greatest force ever. We are not lacking anything, He is there for us within us, caressing us, providing for us, and helping us in every way.


The way you describe God and His love in that one paragraph, as never coercive, never requiring anything of us, gentle and kind-hearted, ..and of what He wants for us, to just know we're already in union with Him and can enjoy life because happiness is within!  That blew me away!  That is the best explanation of the good news I've heard in a long time and maybe ever!  THAT is the real gospel!

You know, I was thinking about how since I found out all are going to be in heaven, how much calmer and at peace I am in all areas of my is like I was finally able to relax and really trust God, finally able to be at peace because He really IS good!  He really is!  I think before I struggled a bit because I couldn't see how He could really let people end up in hell instead of made me a bit afraid of Him, like there was a 'bad' side to God that I had to be careful not to unleash!  Now that I know He is really going to get everyone into heaven with Him and wouldn't have it any other way, I feel He makes sense to me, life makes more sense, the gospel makes sense...knowing everything is going to be okay for everybody makes me feel that everything is so peaceful and right in such an ultimate way!

I completely agree with your thoughts about knowing everyone ends up in heaven. For me, it feels as though that was the missing piece of the puzzle all along, that thinking He would be judging some means He did believe in some sort of retributive justice, which proved that He wasn't that good. I would have friends who never even knew Jesus that would say "I believe everyone ends up in heaven because deep down everyone is good". And looking back, if the truth about heaven for all were untrue, then my friends would indeed be better than God. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts on your blog about universal salvation, it has always been something that has been on my mind but I felt scared about acknowledging it. Guess it was on our minds for a reason! lol

Just today I was thinking about how incredible it is to find Jesus outside of religion. Religion is such an oppressive force, and I wanted to know Him outside of religion, know who Jesus truly was. I'm seeing how He is the lightest force. Really, I now can see the possibility of all entering heaven because I see how no one is outside of His grace. Even though some may be unaware of His life within them, no one is outside of the circle of Grace. It's as if Jesus says to all, don't worry about church attendance, evangelism, or asking for forgiveness,the laws, or doctrinal issues, all I want is for you to simply be happy, feel this deep love within you, experience life within you and give you unending joy in the midst of this sometimes confusing life. Nothing on this earth can be as freeing nor more beautiful. Sometimes, when I feel depressed or weighed down I just think about how terrible my life was prior to knowing true Grace, and though I still may feel sad or anxious, some sort of peace takes hold.

I love what you said about Peace taking hold in those depressed moments!  I have experienced that too!  To me that is just so God, so Grace-at-Work! Grace is the love and presence and peace and acceptance of God (really His whole Being, which IS all those things) TAKING HOLD of our hearts and minds and flooding us with all that He is, carrying us forth in life, in happiness, in well-being and true shalom calmness, sailing us over all things in utter freedom, saturating everything and everyone with a deep sense of okayness, and bringing everything out to the perfect Happy Ending enjoying that wonderful intimacy of our union with Him forever! 

How wonderful to rest in the arms that will hold us all forever!
How beautiful to rest in such a God, a God who says to us, as He did to Julian of Norwich:

“See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?”   

Isn't Grace wonderful? Isn't HE wonderful? :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Justification by the Faith OF the Son of God - What His Love Does to the Heart!

I have been thinking and reading lately on the truth of 'justification by faith,' and I have so enjoyed looking at this wonderful truth in some new and beautiful ways..looking at exactly Whose faith justifies us and exactly what it means to be justified in the first place...

I think a beautiful way to look at justification by faith is that we are proved to be right/righteous by the faith OF the Son of God, not our faith at all..we aren't changed from sinful to righteous but proved innocent - justified - in our courtroom we've set up inside our heads!!

God never needed proof of who we were or of our true nature, after all, He fathered us and 'knew what was in man' all along! He knew we were in His image, no matter how much that image seemed obscured or hidden by our being influenced by lies and thus not in touch with or allowing ourselves to express our true selves.  It seemed with all those lies coming at us, and those seeming contradictions in our behavior and speech and emotions, that we could never see ourselves as that 'good and righteous child of God' that each of us truly were..not as long as those troubled and deceptive thoughts were in our minds.  It was almost as if we'd set up a courtroom mentally to 'try' ourselves and found so much 'evidence' of criminality..

But Jesus justified us in our court of law (our legal minds) by proving our worth and innocence at the cross, where He said we didn't know what we were doing..He showed solidarity with the human race, showed we were his brothers and sisters, with the family characteristics of our mutual Father - characteristics of a loving and good nature and a kind and unselfish disposition/heart at the core!

And He proved all this too - and more -  by rising from the dead, showed we were spirit just as He was/is and can't stay dead!  Death loses its grip when you see that!  Thank You, Jesus for justifying us, proving us right, exonerating and vindicating us in the presence of our 'enemy' - the thoughts accusing us in our minds!

Justified by the faith OF the Son of God IN us!  He never doubted we were God's holy children for a second!  He was willing to put His life on the line to prove it!  He knew that the worst things we could do were done in ignorance and confusion, and that God the Father would bring Him back to life no matter what to show us that, to erase our wrong, to show us His marvelous love once and for all!  When someone believes in you enough to love you and call you beautiful even while you spit on His face, beat Him, and string Him up and leave Him to die..that love does something to you inside..

Love, such a love that Jesus displays, is seen and experienced, and something happens inside..a knot somewhere is untangled..something like a wall is dismantled..that Love doesn't dismantle YOU, but it dismantles the lies that you've heard all your life and even told yourself all your life..lies about yourself, about God, about your relationship, about how He feels about you, about your worth..

Something crumbles inside, and like a quiet inner avalanche hurt feelings and thoughts are released and dissipated and there is a relief, a gentle peace that ensues, a calmness like a quietly flowing river, deep and wide and gentle, carrying you along.

A quiet yet strong truth has emerged, dawned upon your troubled mind:  You're not the monster you thought you were - you are beautiful, you are sweet, you are wanted, you are loved!  You're a treasure, that's what you are, a diamond, stardust, a jewel made of finest gold, worthy, precious, 'of finest quality!'  How good and sweet and lovely you are, how pure and true!  And...How you are loved!  Held!  Known, understood, embraced, supported!  How safe you are!  Now and forever, you belong, you are beloved, you are HOME!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Killed because of our Satan-manipulated sins..Raised because of our actual innocence!

I love this from facebook..

Stephen Burns
"The nuances and shifting of language seem to have diluted the message about what the resurrection of Jesus Christ is all about. You are righteous! Now discover your righteousness!

"He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised BECAUSE of our justification" - Romans 4:25

"Who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised up BECAUSE of our being declared righteous" - Romans 4:25 YLT

Here's my "Berean" note. I included two versions that translate the verse correctly from the Greek. One is in the New American Standard Bible. The other is the Young's Literal Translation. The majority of verses render the resurrection as happening "for our justification". But the same Greek preposition (dia) is used in conveying the idea of Jesus being given "because of our transgressions" as is used to express that is was also BECAUSE of our justification that he was raised to life! The use of the preposition "dia" actually means "on account of" or "by reason of". So you can hear this more precisely expressed as the resurrection of Jesus actually having happened ON ACCOUNT OF and BY REASON OF your being found righteous by God!"

Why did Jesus die?   Because of our sins - in other words, Jesus died because we did the wrong thing and slandered, wrongly condemned, abused and killed Him.. And why did Jesus rise?  Because God found us innocent of any crime!  Jesus Himself pointed that out on the cross, that the stance of the Godhead concerning our crucifixion of the Son was that 'they don't know what they're doing.'  Wow!

Jesus rose to prove to us that God didn't believe we did any wrong!  He knew we were misguided, hurt, lied to, blind and confused..trapped in the lies we'd heard all through our lives/human history - the lie that God doesn't love us, that we are bad, that we are misshapen, broken, inadequate and 'not enough,' that we must prove ourselves to God or else be punished, that God rejected and abandoned us, that we are on our own and must measure up to a standard in order to be 'ok' in ourselves and before God, the relationship with God must be earned and merited, that we are 'wrong' and innately sinful..and we seemed to prove all this by being so rebellious in our actions, so angry and bitter against God, so mistrusting and withdrawn and suspicious, so hateful in our acts toward Him, even to the point of murdering Him!  Yet God proved otherwise.  He did not call us out, punish or condemn us, or even call us sinners!  Instead He brought Jesus back from the dead without a word of reproof, without a bit of anger or 'righteous indignation,'  without a bit of retaliatory or retributive 'justice' in His ways towards us!

It was almost like He was saying, oh, you little children didn't know what you were doing when you killed my Son.  So I am going to make it all better, take responsibility for your confused and misguided acts; I am going to clean up this mess and make it like it never even happened - for I am just going to pop my Son back up in life again.  Haha!  Infected with such a love demonstrated and proved to us by such an act of the loving Dad, we can't help but live abundantly and freely with Him forever!  Eden revisited and more!

So He died because we went and killed Him in our Satanic delusion (trapped as we were by Satan's that we weren't in control of our acts but were slaves to this confusion he put on us by lying to us), and yet..
And yet He rose because God knew that we were actually innocent of any wrong and was proving that!

Satan tried to convince us we were guilty and unloved by getting us to lash out in our confusion and angst and kill the Son of God..
But God popped Jesus back up to life, erasing the crime!  No body, no murder to convict or punish us of!  God showing He knew we were innocent all along!

He has only ever seen you, me and everyone as His beloved children, in whom He is well pleased!  How could the perfect Father ever see His children as anything less than perfect - pure, sweet, lovely and innocent?  How could the One who is Pure Love (undiluted love, love without any mixture of anything else!) ever have any other stance towards us than complete love, acceptance, joy and delight?  How could we, made in His perfect and pure Love Image, ever be anything BUT pure Love at our core?  The cross proves His Love, and the resurrection proves our Innocence, bathed as we are in that same Love, made as we are of that very BEING of Pure Love!   We're Pure Love just like our Daddy!  Thank You, Papa for showing us that - who You are and who we are - through the cross and resurrection!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ponderings on His Loving Ways

How wonderful to think how beautiful God is in His LOVEliness! 

God is vulnerable and we can be too..for we are truly loving by nature just as He is, made in His image as we are!  Like Father, like children!

We are not bad or selfish but need to get rid of the idea that we are..once we see ourselves as beloved apart from our actions, and as good apart from our thoughts and feelings and behaviors, we feel safe and can afford to let others misunderstand or defame us, and we find ourselves freed up to love others instead of trying to get love..

For we know we are loved, safe and "good eggs" with God who is vulnerable and generous that frees us up to finally be ourselves, for we are vulnerable and generous Love as well..

It's not the Real, True Self (spirit) that needs to 'go down' and 'be humbled' or whatever, it's the false ideas of ourselves that need to die out, and they automatically do in the light of God's truth dawning upon us..

And so often we can only really see and dare to believe this truth when it's demonstrated just after a massive fail! 

I truly feel He doesn't orchestrate such failures or difficult times, and they are not 'punishment from God' or anything like that!  He is simply amazing enough to bring something beautiful out of those moments of 'wipeout' for ashes..He is able to take the worst things we do and turn them something more beautiful than we could ever imagine!  Men may concoct a crucifixion, but God is in the business of resurrection!  As Robert Capon says, the worst we can be is dead, but since He is the Resurrection and the Life, that makes us just His cup of tea!

So we find the 'lean times' or 'desert wanderings' are not the wasted or squandered times but instead the stuff from which He makes beautiful miracles in our hearts, times when we see into eternity and catch a glimpse of His love more beautiful than we'd ever seen before!

For if He loves us and sees us as innocent and good THEN, at what we think of as 'our worst moments,' then He ALWAYS sees us innocent, beloved and good and it must actually BE TRUE that we really ARE the innocent, good, beloved, loving creatures He says we are! 

To me, this is the message of the cross and resurrection..that even when we did the worst thing we could do and killed His Son, He simply absorbed all our 'wrath' and called us innocent, taking care of our crime by even removing the evidence of it - the body itself - by raising His Son back to life without a word of anger against us, without a single reproach, simply holding out His hands to embrace us and give us the full experience of His love and life that has always been our birthright as His created children!  THAT is true acceptance, THAT is eternal security, THAT is unconditional Love, THAT is truly good news!

The cross and resurrection shouts out that good news of unconditional love, and it truly seems to hit home for us personally at those moments of massive fail..when we find He hasn't left us at all but is still there, loving us, caressing us, blessing us, carrying us along..and at that moment the truth dawns upon us in a new way..that He really isn't going to leave us, no matter what we's true!  He really IS all grace and love and not a bit of law or judgment!

The lying voices die away and the intense need to prove our right-ness melts off like fog before the morning sun, and the intense cravings for love, now satisfied, turn into quiet contentment simply to BE as we are, to enjoy both God and life, to enjoy both love and loving, seeing we are wrapped in such a LOVE that defies description!!

I feel this is the most beautiful and profound experience in the world, to find out how deeply we are loved and how purely and absolutely God's nature IS that very love!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Happened Through the Cross Was for Us, not for God!

The cross is so powerful..I feel I am seeing its meaning in new ways and uncovering layers of truth not fully experienced before.  This article is so great and I want to ponder the thoughts written here more and more.  Just wanted to share this article with you all:  


Jesus Died for Us ... Not for God - Brian Zahnd

“You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead.” –The Apostle Peter, Acts 3:15

Golgotha is where the great crimes of humanity — pride, rivalry, blame, violence, domination, war, and empire — are dragged into the searing light of divine judgment [this word threw me off a bit - I think I would have said that humanity's ways were put in the light of divine truth, juxtaposed against the truth of Love and thus shown to be terrible and not God-like at all..this makes me realize that it isn't accurate to see the cross as God's violence, blame, domination and war against His Son or us!  WE were the violent ones who killed the beloved one of the Father...] At Golgotha we see the system of human organization that we blithely call “civilization” for what it is: an axis of power enforced by violence so corrupt that it is capable of murdering God in the name of what we call truth, justice, and liberty.

Golgotha is also the place where the love of God achieves its greatest expression. As Jesus is lynched in the name of religious truth and imperial justice he expresses the heart of God as he pleads for the pardon of his executioners. At the cross we discover that the God revealed in Christ would rather die in the name of love than kill in the name of freedom. Our savior is Jesus Christ, not William Wallace.

The cross is both hideous and glorious, simultaneously ugly and beautiful. It’s as hideous as human sin and as glorious as divine love. It is a collision of sin and grace. But it is not a contest of equals. In the end love and beauty win. We call it Easter.

What the cross is not is a quid pro quo where God agrees to forgive upon receipt of his Son’s murder. What the cross is not is an economic transaction whereby God gains the capital to forgive. These legal and fiscal models for understanding the cross simply will not do.

Jesus does not save us from God, Jesus reveals God as savior. What is revealed on Good Friday is not a monstrous deity requiring a virgin to be thrown into a volcano or a firstborn son to be nailed to a tree. What is revealed on Good Friday is the depths of human depravity and the greater depths of God’s love.

Before the cross is anything else, it is a catastrophe. It is the unjust and violent lynching of an innocent man. It is the murder of God. Jesus is sacrificed by the Father only in this sense: The Father sent his Son into our system of violent power (civilization) to reveal how utterly sinful it is — so sinful that it will murder the Innocent One. God did not will the murder of his Son, he simply knew it would occur. But even Plato knew that. In imagining what would happen to a perfectly just man in our unjust world, Plato said, “our just man will be scourged, racked, fettered…and at last, after all manner of suffering, will be crucified.” (The Republic, Book II, p. 37) Plato wrote that three centuries before Christ. God knew what Plato knew. For Jesus to proclaim and inaugurate the kingdom of God in the midst of our unjust and violent world would require a supreme sacrifice.

The death of Jesus was a sacrifice. But it was a sacrifice to end sacrificing, not a sacrifice to appease an angry god. It was not God who required the sacrifice of Jesus, it was human civilization. A system built upon violent power cannot tolerate the presence of one who owes it nothing. The sacrifice of Jesus was necessary to convince us to quit producing sacrificial victims; it was not necessary to convince God to forgive. When Jesus prays for forgiveness on the cross he was not acting contrary to the nature of God, he was revealing the nature of God as forgiving love.

Think of it this way: Where do we find God on Good Friday? Is God found in Caiaphas seeking a sacrificial scapegoat? Is God found in Pilate requiring a punitive execution? Or is God found in Jesus, absorbing sin and responding with forgiveness?

The Apostle Paul says God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. (2 Corinthians 5:19) And this should not be misread as God reconciling himself to the world…as some mistaken atonement theories do! Jesus died for us…not for God.

The crucifixion is not what God inflicts upon Jesus in order to forgive, the crucifixion is what God in Christ endures as he forgives. The cross is where God absorbs sin and recycles it into forgiveness.

The crucifixion is not the ultimate attempt to change God’s mind about us — the cross is the ultimate attempt to change our mind about God. God is not like Caiaphas seeking a sacrifice. God is not like Pilate requiring an execution. God is like Jesus, absorbing sin and forgiving sinners.

The cross is not about payment, the cross is about forgiveness.

Good Friday is not about divine wrath, Good Friday is about divine love.

Calvary is not where we see how just God is, Calvary is where we see how unjust civilization is.
As long as we think Jesus died for God instead of dying for us, we will never see the sinfulness of human civilization and the beauty of the divine alternative: the kingdom of God.

The justice of God is not retributive justice. In the end retributive justice changes nothing. The justice of God is entirely restorative. The only thing God will call justice is setting the world right, not punishing the innocent. (Our sense of retributive justice is derived from the fact that we are more punished by our sins than for our sins.)
[These thoughts are so powerful to me..the Father wasn't the ogre demanding a sacrifice in order to appease His anger..He was forgiveness and love the whole time..He was the one taking the worst thing that ever happened - that we would kill God! - and turning it into the best thing ever - God calling us all innocent and ending the strife inside us once and for all - the need to sacrifice, the anxiety that we must 'do' something to get His love - for we see at the cross that we ALREADY had His love and have had it all along, can't lose it!  We know now His love and grace and acceptance are ours forever because they remained even when we did the worst thing we could possibly do by killing His Son..if He loved us, claimed us, embraced us even THEN, He loves, claims us, embraces us forever!]
The bottom line is this: God did not kill Jesus, human civilization did. We did. Jesus absorbed the blow in love and forgave us. The Father vindicated his Son on Easter. Now Jesus calls us to follow him into the kingdom of grace, the kingdom of love, the kingdom of God.

Let us follow the Lamb.

(The artwork is Golgotha by Edvard Munch, 1900.)
The post Jesus Died for Us…Not for God appeared first on Brian Zahnd.
Wow!  The cross wasn't ever about a 'payment' for sin, was it?  It was always about God showing us, in such extreme love and grace, that a payment was never needed!  Real Love never makes people 'pay!'  
The cross is not another chapter in the book of religion but is the end of religion, God slamming the book shut forever!  
God didn't need the cross to be 'okay' with us..we needed it to be 'okay' with ourselves and finally see that we really are worthy to be loved, valued beyond imagination..
Wow, we really are 'to die for,' aren't we?  
We really are His very own beloved children in whom He is well pleased!  How could any good father say anything less than this about His own dear children!  
What a relief to know that the cross wasn't something God demanded and did so He could put a judgmental, wrathful spotlight on our sin but was something we did (in confusion and pain, not seeing we were loved) that was turned around and used by God to put a bright heavenly spotlight on LOVE!  
What a Love!  This is a love beyond anything we could ever dream, a love that is strong enough to truly banish every fear and heal every hurt in the human heart!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Two Wonderful Things..

We watched a family movie recently called "Mom's Night Out" which was really funny and good..the movie is about a mom who wonders if she is 'enough' - and at the end of the movie, two statements are made that sum up so well what I feel God has been showing me this past year of my life..

The two thoughts are basically:

My life does not have to change for me to be happy.

I am not a failure; God says I am enough, even perfect.

These two thoughts are so profound to me, and I feel like they are such revelations deep in my heart.  I can really be happy right now, no matter what life looks like at this moment.  And I am really okay/enough right now, no matter what I am like at this moment.  I don't have to wait till things change in order to be happy -  happiness is mine now.  And I don't have to wait till I change to be okay/enough - I am fine right now.  God is fine with me and my life right now, and so I can be as well!

These two truths have given me such peace and joy in the last several months.  I have had a newfound love of life growing inside of me, a cherishing of the simple things like my daughter's smile or long walks in the woods.  I have seen so suddenly the beauty, the wild deliciousness, the precious value of this life we have here on earth, every breath something to be savored, every sunrise and sunset something to be enjoyed, every laugh with a family member something to be cherished.  I have become so grateful for this life and is seems so wonderful, even in the midst of the chaos that sometimes occurs in my circumstances. 

And I have been so much more 'okay' with ME much more willing to give myself a break, to let myself feel what I really feel, even if it is a so-called 'unacceptable' emotion like anger, doubt, bitterness, or frustration.  I have allowed my soul to voice questions and struggles, allowed myself to be real, to be imperfect, to be messy.  And yet I feel more whole, settled, grounded, and at peace than ever!  It seems every time I allow a part of me that is hurting to express that hurt feeling, the feeling seems to be soothed somehow and calm down..and work itself out naturally without any effort..almost as if some part of me that was hurting just wanted to be noticed, heard, loved and validated..allowed to express its feelings and be loved and embraced in the midst of them..and then that part seems to be more okay, calmer, quieted down inside.  It is almost like the hurting parts are like a little child crying, and that little one calms down as it is held, listened to, allowed to share its hurts.  Every part of me deserves love, validation, acceptance and understanding.  Every part of me deserves pampering, kindness, help and support.  Every part of me is made by God and special!

I just wanted to share these two wonderful thoughts.  I am so thankful and grateful for this wonderful life we all are sharing together here on this planet as children of God.  I love each of you and am so thankful to have you as my brothers and sisters in this great family! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Already Home, Already Free (sharing a beautiful Grace song by Kirtana)

Here is a wonderful song that Woolly has shared with us..such wonderful lyrics about how we are already FINE and can just BE, just as we are, for just as we are is perfect!


Already Home, Already Free 

Nothing to seek.
Nothing to gain.
Nothing to know.

Nothing to lose.
Nothing to do,
but let go.

Let's rest here
where the future
and the past disappear...
in the sanctity of Now.

Nothing to prove.
Nothing to own.
No one to be.

Nowhere to move.
Already home.
Already Free.

Let's just stay
in the cave of the heart today
and bask
in this ever-present love.

Nothing to fix.
Nothing to change.
Nothing to fight.

Only what is.
What if what is
is just right.

Why not trust
this Mystery living us
and rest
in the refuge of the Self.

Nothing to judge.
No one to blame or fear.
Only my face
greeting me in the mirror.

Nowhere to turn.
Nowhere to hide.
Nobody else.

Nothing outside
that isn't inside

Let's just see,
Is anyone here but me? --
in the present moment now.

Nothing to know.
Nothing to do.
No one to be.

Nowhere to go.
Already home.
Already free.

Nowhere to go.
Already home.
Already free.

Nowhere to go.
Already home.
Already free.

I was thinking about this idea recently, that since we are made by God, we must already be fine, adequate, enough, beautiful, wonderful and even perfect..for 'whatever God does is perfect!'

How wonderful to know that since He is obviously satisfied with anything HE makes - which includes you and me - that we too can be satisfied with the you and me He has made..we can be satisfied with ourselves, okay with ourselves, accepting of ourselves, pleased with ourselves.  For God thinks we are enough in His eyes, so we can be enough in our own eyes!

We can really gives ourselves a break and love ourselves and be good to ourselves..we can be okay with ourselves..and know that we don't have to feel a need to change, grow, improve, fix ourselves, do something, make something happen, get somewhere, or become something 'better' - we are already fine right at this moment, where we are, as we are.

We can say that just as we are, we ARE okay, enough, good, even wonderful, beautiful, great..perfect in our messy human imperfectness and weakness..perfect to Him always..for we are His amazingly perfect handiwork always and forever!
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14