Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Favorite Post from Jamie Weeks

Here is one of my favorite posts from Jamie Weeks over at Better Than We Know blog.  I have learned so much about God's love and grace reading her words.  She sometimes writes out the dialogues she has with Jesus, and this particular one is my favorite.  Thank you, Jamie for sharing grace so eloquently!  Here's the post:

Skinned Knees and Bruised Hearts

So...I fell down and skinned my knees this week. Huh. I most seriously DISLIKE that with every particle of my being. Not that we all don't fall, but...let's face it; I'd rather grace you than MYSELF! Huh, again.
And of course, after some angst, I ran straight to my Guy. It went like this:

Me: ::sobbing:: But I screwed up!!!

Him: Really?

Me: ::indignant:: YES! Really. And I skinned my knees! LOOK!!

Him: I don't see a thing.

Me: Are You blind? You know I missed it!!

Him: Well, yeah, but I thought we settled that a long time ago.

Me: Well, You might have but it hurts NOW!!

Him: Why? I don't see you any differently.

Me: Yeah, but I disappointed someone... I think.

Him: NO!


Him: And...what?

Me: ::tearing up again:: Well, I made You look bad.

Him: Darling, you make Me look beautiful by living forgiven and loved.

Me: But, but, well, that's too easy! That's WHAT!

Him: Your life wasn't cheap, Beloved. Remember the price I paid?

Me: Yes! That's the POINT!! I OWE YOU!

Him: Do you really believe that? Really?

Me: No...but I feel that way sometimes.

Him: Then it's good that you aren't what you do or how you feel, right?  You're who My Father says you are.

Me: Huh. I like it better when they match.

Him: So, are you going to believe Me or your bruised heart? Hmmm?

Me: You'll have to convince me.

Him: ::laughing:: Really? How's that?

Me: ::dissolving into giggles:: Kiss it and make it better???

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Holy Rant - Part 2

Yes, I am still ranting.  Just letting myself get good and mad at lies and good and happy about the truth.  Here goes:

My security in Him CAN'T be moved!  His love over my life is immovable.  NOTHING will make Him stop loving me!  He's not going anywhere - nobody can change what Jesus has ALREADY done - and He's already set me with Him in the heavenly places!  He's already put me in union with Him, cemented us together so that we can never be apart, put us so close that we are "in" each other.  He said He'll NEVER leave!  He'll NEVER leave! (Heb. 13:5)  No matter what sin I commit, no matter what struggle I can't overcome, no matter what life throws at me, no matter what doubt - He never leaves!  He never abandons me!  He never, never, never stops loving me and He never ever will!  He holds me in His hand and will never drop me, never lose me, never discard me, never reject me, never, never, NEVER!

His life in me can never fail!  His life in me is unchangeable!  My circumstances may stink, I may feel low, I may not enjoy all of life, but His life in me is PERFECT!  It's always full of joy!  It's always fulfilled!  Always free!  Always at rest!  Always in victory, always enjoying true joy and happiness, always lived to the fullest!  Never fearful, never lonely, never troubled, never down - His life in me is perfect and I enjoy that life as MY life forever!  That's where I am today!

And that's where every single one of His children is today, too!

                      With love,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Holy Rant - Part 1

Sometimes I get good and mad and go on a holy rant.  I rant against the dumb lies I sometimes succumb to.  I build myself up in truth.  And it feels so good!  Here is part one of a long holy rant I had recently:

My joy in Him CAN'T be taken away!  I'm happy in Jesus forever, and that's untouchable.  No circumstance, problem or evil can ever touch my joy in Christ.  It is my permanent possession because it's HIS joy in me.  He looks on me and sees someone He's perfected forever, His dear child and the apply of His eye!  He's happy with what He made - me!  He's smiling at me RIGHT NOW!  And that is a joy to me!  My Jesus is delighted in me forever and He's sticking with me forever!  Nothing can break that up!  My emotions can go up and down and life can be crazy, but that's all only on the surface.  Under the surface in my spirit is a deep calm joy in HIM!  Jesus said, "You will rejoice, and NO ONE will take away your joy."  (John 16:22)

My peace in Him CAN'T be removed either.  In Him I AM at peace!  He has a covenant of peace with me that won't be removed - He promised!  (Is. 54:10)  His promise of peace for me will never be broken!  His peace not only surrounds me, it's in every fiber of my being and it guards my heart, pushing back every fear and lie and anxiety.  His peace is a wall around me.  I am at peace with God because of the finished work of Christ who took away ALL my sin forevermore, and NOTHING can change that!  Nothing I do, think, say, or feel will ever come between us.  I'm acceptable forever because of Jesus.  HE is my peace!  Jesus said, "MY peace I give you."  (John 14:27)

All of us dear ones of the Father are in His peace and joy forever!  We may not feel it or sense it, but it's true!  For the kingdom of God is ... righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit...(Rom. 14:17)

                               With love,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New

Here is a post on the difference between the Old and New Covenants by Joel over at Grace Roots blog.   I liked it so much I wanted to post it here:

Heb 10:9 "He takes away the first that He may establish the second."

"About this New Covenant: This is not "Old Covenant, Part 2."  This is not a continuation of the Old Covenant.  This is not a mixture of two Covenants.  This is not a "new" way to do the same old thing.  This is not an amendment to the Old Covenant.  This is not "picking up where the old left off."  This is a completely different covenant.  This is "a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Heb 8:6).

"The old system of a priesthood of mortal men (see Heb 7:23-25 "prevented by death from continuing"), and everything that went along with it, served a purpose under that old covenant, but it is now done away with.  The old tithing system that was set in place to provide for the Levites, widows, orphans and strangers, served its purpose under that old covenant, but it is now done away with.  All of the sacrifices, which had a purpose under that old covenant, have now been done away with.

"The curse of the law has been done away with.  In fact, the Law has been "wiped out," "taken out of the way," "nailed to the cross." (Col 2:14).  Did Paul really say that?  YES HE DID!  Trying to be obedient to God's Law has been done away with.  Man's relationship with the law altogether has been done away with!  One has to be dead to the law in order to be married to a completely different spouse, Jesus Christ.  (Rom 7:1-6, Gal 2:19-20).  They are not the same, and you cannot be married/joined to both.

"God's law was "a shadow of of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things" (Heb 10:1).  It, along with the sacrifices, could never make anything perfect and could never take away sins, but really only brought about a reminder of sins! (Heb 10:2-4).

"However...JESUS HIMSELF - the PERSON - is the reality, is the substance (Col 2:17).  The reality/substance is not a system of rules and laws and sacrifices, but is a Person.  Jesus' one-time, once-for-all sacrifice did away with ALL of that!  With one sacrifice, the system of laws and ordinances was done away with, as was the entire priestly system and the entire OLD COVENANT.  "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh..." (Rom 8:3).  Jesus Himself became a curse for us (Gal 3:13) and became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21).  With one sacrifice, Jesus TOOK AWAY the sin of the world!  "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).  "But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb 9:26).

"If we want to live in the fullness of the reality of Jesus Christ, we need to get out of the shadows and instead focus on the substance - the Person of Jesus Christ who IS our life and who is our light.  He Himself IS the reality of the abundant life."

                                                             Joel Brueseke

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Law of Life

Sometimes there are certain phrases in the Bible that I have trouble understanding completely.  One of those phrases is the "law of life."  It is also called the law of the Spirit, the law of liberty, and the law of love.  At least, I link them all together in my mind.  And I find myself trying to figure out what this law really is.  So what really is this law of life?

The life within us is the very life of Christ, His Spirit.  And this life has a law about it.  A way it operates that is sure and certain.  If it's present, certain things will always be true.

To me, the law of life is that with the Spirit within, this self-sustaining life will sustain and keep us.  This life will manifest itself through us as love, and it will happen in way that preserves our freedom.

This life makes us all that it is.  The life of Christ, His very nature,  is within us.  If the Spirit is within, certain things are true.  The human spirit is alive and righteous, totally acceptable to God.  We are already righteous, not trying to become righteous. That is forever true.  The life within has brought with it all its attributes of righteousness, peace, acceptability, love, joy, holiness, etc.  And the life is not a thing but a Person named Jesus!  With Him inside, I am forever okay, and to me that is part of the law of life.

This life maintains itself.  We do not have to worry about maintaining this life or keeping it within or keeping it going.  It is an imperishable life, an eternal life.  It is an incorruptible life.  It maintains itself.  And it sustains us in life.  We don't sustain ourselves, the life of Christ is holding us up and sustaining us eternally.

And this life manifests itself.  One truth about life is that it grows and manifests itself.  A pregnant lady will begin to "show," and eventually a baby will be born!  His life in us will begin to "show," and life will be evident!  We don't have to worry about that, either, then.  It's a natural process, a law - the law of life.

This life brings liberty.  Where the Spirit is, there is liberty; thus, this law can be called the law of liberty.  The Spirit brings freedom.  If we have the Spirit, we don't need external law.  The Spirit is one with our spirit and His desires actually come forth as the desires of our spirit.    Thus, following or walking by the Spirit becomes doing what we want to do deep down, following our spirit!  That is so beautiful to me.  God has set everything up in such a way that we are free from external pressure and restraint and can actually do as we please, be ourselves, and live naturally from our very spirit, our deepest and truest desires, which are actually His desires!  Wow!  So to me, part of the law of life is that where life is, there is liberty from external law and the joy of following your heart or spirit.

This law brings love.  Our hearts want to love, for love lives at the center of our being and is one with us!  The law of life tells me that this love will naturally come forth, for where the Spirit is, there is love, since God is love.  The desires of the Spirit deep within our spirit, then, are desires to love!  His love compels us.  We are drawn to love and can't help but love.  And He is doing it all from within us!  We don't have to try to love.  Love has us, holds us, and compels us to love by being our very nature!  Our very nature is love!  Wow!  So many times I think I am unloving, but my deepest self is love and that love will come out!  It's the law of life that it will!

As Jamie over at Better Than We Know says, "We don't keep this law; it keeps us!"  Yes!  I love that!  It's so freeing and relieving to know the law of life is at work, so I don't have to be at work!  There's no need for rules, principles, or any external law in my life to "keep me in line" because the law of life is keeping me.  No need for an external map when you have your own internal GPS!  No need to be motivated by duty when one is already motivated by desire!  We WERE sheep continually going astray, but NOW we have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls.  (1 Pet. 2:25)  His very life is the Guardian of our soul and so we won't go astray!  It's wonderful to ponder this law of life working in us!

                             With love,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Gospel Says

What Good News does Jesus tell us in the Gospel?  In His own words we hear such good news:

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies..    Is. 61:1

I tell prisoners, 'Come on out. You're free!' and those huddled in fear, 'It's all right. It's safe now.'  Is. 49:8

I'll never forget you. I've wiped the slate of all your wrongdoings. There's nothing left of your sins. Come back to me, come back. I've redeemed you."   Is. 44:21

Or as Brennan Manning puts it, in the Gospel we can hear Jesus say:  "Shalom.  Be at peace.  I understand your fears, your failures, your brokenness.  I don't expect you to be perfect.  I have been there.  All is well.  You have My love.  You don't have to pay for it, and you can't deserve it.  You only have to open and receive it.  You only have to say yes to My love - a love beyond anything you can intellectualize or imagine."

To me, the Gospel says:  Let love have you.  Welcome home.  He's looking on you with love right now and with arms outstretched, He gives the gift of life.  Thank Him and enjoy that gift, the gift of Jesus Himself!  Open up before Him and share all that's on your heart.  He won't harm you.  His love brings healing to your deepest places.  You will never be abandoned or rejected.  You will never be alone.  All is forgiven.  All shame and guilt is gone.  He is really not counting your sins against you!  Rest in the arms of the One who has always loved you and always will.

May you be overjoyed at the Good News that God has graced you today!

                           With love,

What Is The Good News?

What is the Good News of the Gospel of Grace?  Recently I was watching one of my favorite movies, Finding Nemo.  The little clown fish had gotten captured and put in a fish tank, and the whole movie is about his father's journey to rescue him.  When a pelican comes to tell Nemo the news that his dad is on the way to get him, he feels sure that it couldn't be so.  But the pelican assures him that it's true!  Nemo's face lights up as he hears that his father is braving sharks, jellyfish, dark crevices, and the open sea just to find him and bring him home.  When I watched Nemo's face light up, I thought of what God did for us.  Nemo brightened at the good news he got:  his daddy loved him so much he was overcoming terrible things to get him out of the trap he was in!  The good news of the gospel is the same:  God overcame amazing obstacles just to get us back!  We in our pit of despair may think, why would He care?  He wouldn't come after me, after what I've done, after what I've become.  But He HAS come after us!  And when we hear how much He loved us and all He did to get rid of the awful sin that trapped us, our faces brighten.  We are loved!  We are worth something to Him!

What is the Gospel?  It's that the love and acceptance and forgiveness and freedom you've longed for you already have - it was given to you in Jesus by grace.  He took all the evil in us that was holding us down onto Himself and in so doing, brought us back to God.  We are forgiven.  There is no barrier between us and God, nothing keeping us from relationship with Him.  He has always loved us, and He's taken away what was keeping us from enjoying that love.

The good news is called the gospel of GRACE - it's about how God freely forgave us by Jesus' death on the cross, how the work to take away our sins is FINISHED and now God is offering us a wonderful gift - the LIFE of Jesus!  Free for the taking!  He puts it in our hands and we simply believe it is ours!  That is what it means to receive the gift of eternal life by faith!

We are loved and accepted and forgiven for free, without earning it,   without any doing on our part!  Without having to stress over how to get rid of our sins or "get forgiven," since our sins were taken away (wiped out) at the cross.  God says He's not counting the sins of the world against them.  We have all been reconciled to God through the death of His Son!  So that we can have His very Life within us for all eternity, in the perfect intimacy of loving union!  Believe it!  That's the gospel according to Jesus!

God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation....God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Co. 5:19, 21)

                           With love,

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Woods

I had a free day recently and was able to go to my parents' farm and take a walk in their woods.  It's one of the most special places on earth to me, and I thought I'd share some photos.

The photos show the little creek, the beautiful trees, the path through the woods, the back field, and lastly, the barn.  My dad built that barn all by himself from the ground up the summer that I received Christ.  It's a very special memory I have, sitting out there watching him build and reading my Bible as an excited new believer at 14 years of age.

I know the images may look like just a bunch of trees and some grass, but to me, they speak of home, safety, security, love, acceptance, peace, welcome, quietness, and happiness.  They're almost like a picture of Jesus to me, because He is all those things I just listed!

I walked in those woods as a little child with my dad, and he pointed out the trees and taught me their names.  I sat out under those trees and prayed as a new believer.  I looked out at those trees with the moonlight filtering through when I came home after a long absence, and I heard the welcoming song of the little spring peeper frogs singing to me.  And when, as an adult, I suffered heartache, I stole away and walked through those woods with my dad again and felt comforted.  They represent all the comfort of home, and Jesus walked with me there so often - and He still does!  Isn't He good to give us special places where we can be refreshed and commune with Him?  Just thought I'd share this special place with you today..

                              With love,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Safe in His Arms

                 To the one who's dreams are falling all apart
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own
but you're not all alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas
Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong He'll never let you go
oh you're not alone

Did you know that the voice that brings the dead to life
Is the very same voice that calls you to rise
So hear Him now He's calling you home
You will never be alone
You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world
 are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

These are the hands that built the mountains
the hands that calm the seas
These are the arms that hold the heavens
they are holding you and me

These are hands that healed the leper
Pulled the lame up to their feet
These are the arms that were nailed to a cross
to break our chains and set us free

You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world
are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

Phil Wickham

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

His Love for the Wounded Soul

There is a wonderful video (see the link on my sidebar if you wish to watch) where Brennan Manning speaks of the compassion of Jesus for all of us, the wounded, the hurting, the ones who struggle with sin, the angry, the confused.  Brennan really helps me see just how deep the compassion of Jesus is!  Here are some of my favorite quotes from that video:

What made Jesus the greatest Lover in Human history is that He knew what hurts people.

He says, "Your pain reverberates in the depth of My being."

Not only knowing our pain, He seeks us out.  He says, "You come to Me as you are and I'll meet you where you are and love you where you are."

No matter what's going down, He can't stop loving you!  This is the Jesus of the Gospels.

The essence of our Christian life is a furious love affair going on between us and Christ at this very moment.

When was the last time anybody addressed you as "my little child?"  Jesus said, "My little children, I will never leave you orphans."

When we look into Jesus' eyes, we see heaven there.  We never dreamed a Man could love us like this.  Jesus says, "I do not condemn you."

"Take your eyes off yourself and fix them on Me and let Me be who I am."

The God I have come to know loved me as much in a state of disgrace as He loves me in a state of grace, for His compassion is never, never, never based on our performance.  It knows no shade of alteration or change.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the Isaiah prophecy, "The bruised reed of your life He will not crush, and the smoldering wick He will not quench," until He's led the truth of your life's story to victory.  This night will you let Jesus come to you on His terms?  Will you let Him love you as you are, and not as you should be?  Because as they should be..

                                                                  Brennan Manning

No matter what, we are loved today.  We are accepted completely and without any condition or hesitation.  We are held in His arms. He carries our pain around in His heart.  He carries our troubles.  He carries us!

Grace to all who stop by today and may you feel those arms around you, feel loved and embraced and understood today..

                               With love,

Monday, January 18, 2010


I think one of the most wonderful things God has to show us in His grace is that we are completely, totally, eternally secure in Him.  Our salvation is forever, once born again into His family, we can never be "un-born."  Once we are a new creation, the old is gone and can't come back.  The New Covenant says that He's put His Spirit in us who will cause us to walk in His ways, and that He's put a new heart in us that won't turn away from Him.  And every sin we'll ever commit has already been taken away by the cross, so what could ever separate us from Him?

We all need to know that we won't fall away.  We all need to know that whatever failure or faith lapse we have, it can't undo what He's done in us.  We all need to be assured that wherever our confusion takes us, He will run down that dark alleyway to find us and bring us home every single time.  We don't have to hold on to Him, for He is holding on to us.

So when we read "warning" passages in the Bible, we can be assured they are not talking about us, His children.  God in grace gives us this warning:  "Warning - There is no place you can go where My love won't find you!"  Held forever!  Safe in His care!  It's so good to know that nothing I do would ever change His heart toward me!

Here are some wonderful "warnings" written by Julie of the blog Voice of Grace.  I loved what she wrote, and it encouraged me so much that it inspired this post..

"Here are a few warnings for you:  If you stray from the flock, Jesus will leave the 99 to come find you.  If you take your Father's resources and go out into the world and spend it all on liquor and loose women, your father will wait for your return and He will not be disappointed.  If you think you can escape His love, be forewarned!  You never can!  He is your bridegroom and however many times you play the whore to the old impotent husband He will receive you back with joy!  If you are angry with Him, He will comfort you, He will listen, He will win you back again.  You will never reach the end of His mercy, you will never be able to outrun His love.  Wherever you may hide He will chase you down and coax you into freedom and joy.  You are His and He is yours, forever."

                                                                      Julie Morris

We are held in His secure arms today, the everlasting arms that will never let us go!

                            With love,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Clean Before My Lord

You may see me stumble, you may see might fall
You may see me cornered with my back against the wall
Maybe incognito, maybe out to lunch
Maybe caught red-handed or maybe just a hunch

I'm clean, clean, clean before my Lord
I'm clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Like a spotless lamb, I'm blameless in His sight
With no trace of wrong left to right
I'm clean, clean, clean

Kneeling in the closet begging daily bread
There may be a skeleton hanging overhead
Where are my accusers, nowhere to be found
They all dropped their stones when the Master came around

I'm clean, clean, clean before my Lord
I'm clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Like a spotless lamb, I'm blameless in His sight
with no trace of wrong left to right
I'm clean, clean, clean
                                                      Bob Hartman

A friend and I were talking last night about how we are in Christ, and since the Father said of Him, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am WELL-PLEASED," that He also says He is well-pleased with us.  That I am pleasing in His sight is just mind-boggling!  All sins are gone, as the song lyrics above say so well, "I'm clean before my Lord...spotless...blameless in His sight...with no trace of wrong left to right."  Nothing left that needs to be made right!  My life is completely straightened out to Him!  It looks like a mess most of the time to me, but He calls it PERFECTED FOREVER (Heb. 10:14)!

What would it be like during testimony time at church if we stood up and said, "I am well-pleasing to God right now!  There is no wrong left in me that needs to be righted!  I am blameless in God's sight!"  It seems so brash, yet it's what God says!  Wow!  Because Jesus FINISHED the work to take care of our sin on the cross (He took away ALL sins for ALL time), we are clean before our Lord - what a relief!  It makes me feel bold and beautiful before Him, and it makes me love Him so!

                                 With love,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God in the Darkness

There are times when I feel spiritually and physically drained.  I call it the blahs.  Emotionally I can feel sad, tense, or just feel nothing.  Things can seem dark and without a sense of God's presence.  And yet...Love is there.

We are dearly loved by an overwhelmingly Love.  God's love is overwhelming.  It overwhelms everything else.  It's there whether we feel it or not, always present and at work even in our blah times.  And it overcomes our troubled thoughts just as light overcomes darkness.  It casts out fear just as sunrise casts out night. 

Emotions and tiredness cannot stop the flow of love in our hearts.  The love that re-created us is right now washing us and bathing us in compassion, acceptance and peace.  We can't escape this love - it finds us in whatever dark corner our emotions try to place us.  We can't escape that embrace!  In our darkness we run right into His arms.

I think that is one aspect of grace that means so much to me.  To me, grace means that God reaches out to us when we don't reach out to Him.  He helps us even when we don't call for help.   He seeks us out even if we feel we're running from Him.  On those blah days when I feel nothing, nothing is really wrong deep down - my spirit is still in perfect, peaceful communion with Him.  I can forget that and be troubled, yet He always seeks me out in my darkness.  And somehow, His grace eventually overwhelms me again....

(As I write this, I want to make sure not to minimize anyone's pain or sadness.  I am acquainted with deep hurt and lengthy periods of sadness myself.  Grace never shuns us for our feelings or minimizes them;  His heart of grace is a safe place where every possible feeling or emotion is allowed, allowed for as long as we have it.  He has helped me see that prolonged times of sadness do not mean that something is wrong in my relationship to Him, and in the midst of that pain He has ministered to me.  So maybe that is what I am trying to say here - that in the midst of whatever we feel, He is there to minister grace and love to us.  He is ever bringing me back to the awareness of His presence, and it is something He does, not me.)

May we all be overwhelmed by the Love that won't ever let us go! 
                                           With love,


Friday, January 15, 2010

Letting Christ Live Through You

I spent most of my Christian life focusing on "not sinning."  I thought it was normal for me to sin, and that I could only stop this almost-inevitable sinning through great effort, willpower, or even faith.  But the truth is, Christians are righteous in our deepest heart!  It's normal and natural for us to live righteously!  Being ourselves and acting naturally produces righteousness in our lifestyle; unnaturally "trying" to resist sin only stirs up more sin!

However, even getting this truth, I found myself still focusing on righteous things coming out in my life.  I figured if I "got" grace, I would grow, and I looked for that growth and goodness and got discouraged if I didn't see it.  But that's not the focus either.  It's true that being our righteous selves naturally brings the fruit of a righteous lifestyle, yet that is just a by-product.  The focus is not really on "not sinning" or on "righteous lifestyle" but just on Him!

What if we didn't even think of sinning or not sinning at all?  What if we just enjoyed the presence of Jesus and His unconditional love for us, with the truth of His finished work just filling up our mind?  Jesus is supposed to be the one handling this "living of life" anyway, not us!  It's not our business to think about sinning or not OR doing right or not - that's Law, the wrong tree!  It's our business to enjoy Him - that's Life, the right tree!

One day I was worrying over something, and I finally just said, "Jesus, I am just going to hang out with You and think about Your love for me.  I'm just going to think on grace and all You've done and just bask in You.  Because that's what I want to do.  You will be taking care of that issue..."  And suddenly, it was like a light bulb went on.  I realized that that was what was meant by "letting Jesus live through you", a phrase I had never been able to wrap my mind around.  To me it means that we get to hang out and rest with Jesus in His grace and love (eat from the tree of life) while He deals with everything involved in working out grace in our lives!  Letting Jesus live through you means you are getting to just be with Jesus and renew your mind on His love and grace.  He is the One responsible for the "living out" part!  Not us!

"We're not focused on the living; we're focused on the Life!"  (Bob George)

Grace doesn't come to us so we can stop sinning or be good: it comes to us so we can know HIM!  (Sure, good fruit comes from that, but that's only the fruit, and the fruit is not the Life, the tree is - and the tree of Life is HIM!)

So that means I shouldn't feel guilty for reading about grace, thinking about His love, and studying the truths of my new life in Him.  I'm just enjoying the tree of life.  It isn't selfish to ponder how much He loves me or to just "be" in His presence and feel that love!  It isn't wasted time at all to learn about His love or bask in the joy of being loved.  Wasn't Mary accused of wasting her time when she sat at Jesus' feet and listened to Him?  Yet Jesus said she picked the best thing of all and it wouldn't be taken from her!  I want to soak in His love today and not think about "doing;"  He takes care of that!  That, to me, is "letting Christ live through me."

                                  With love,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rest, Rest, Rest

Rest, rest, rest.
We don't ever have to try.
Not try to stop sinning.
Not try to do good.
Not try to have faith.
Not try to "let Him live through us."
Just rest.
Rest, rest, rest.
Rest in His arms today.
He takes care of it all.
Always has for us.
Always will.
He's been carrying us since our birth.
He'll still be carrying us through all our tomorrows.
Rest and even slumber in His arms.
And wake refreshed to look into His eyes
As He says, "Rest, my dear little child.
I've got you.  I hold you.
Always have.  Always will.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What the Birds Teach Us

Monday, January 11, 2010

100% Righteous

Here are some quotes from the book Turkeys and Eagles by Peter Lord that I have enjoyed recently:

"Everybody knows that Jesus Christ is 100% righteous.  But few of us are willing to ACCEPT the fact that WE are 100% righteous.  That I am 100% righteous is a gift.

"Acts of righteousness ARE the righteousness of Christ...lived out in normal life.  Everything you do - except when you deliberately choose to sin - everything is an act of righteousness!

"It is normal for Christians to live without sinning.

"Remember, the Old Testament is off by one covenant!

"If He is righteous, and I am born of Him, I have His nature (which is a righteous nature).  What can I be but like Him?  For I am of His nature."
                                                                              Peter Lord

I love these thoughts!  It can "sound" prideful to say we are righteous, but believers have been re-born with His nature.  He is 100% righteous, and we are in Him.  That makes us 100% righteous!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

All the Grace In the Universe

Here's a wonderful grace quote written by my dear friend Martha recently:

"Grace!!  I need all the grace in the universe (and I have it)."

We've got all the grace in the universe!  We've got all the favor and acceptance that's in His heart!  We've got all the love He has to give!  He can't love us or accept us any more than He does right now.  He can't give us anymore of Himself - we've got all of Him.  All of Him in union with us right inside in our spirit.  We are rich, we are full, we are complete, and we'll be enjoying and experiencing the richness that is JESUS for all eternity!  Wonderful grace!

"The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you."
                                                                      2 Co. 13:14

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Grace Encounter

I had been stressing recently that I wasn't loving enough as a person.  God had been whispering His encouragement, and a dear friend had also encouraged me about this very thing.  Then a couple of days ago I had the most amazing thing happen, at least for me!  You see, I am not the most outgoing person, usually keeping to myself, especially in public.  I will smile at strangers and greet them, but that's about it.

Well, a couple of days ago I was in a store looking at books, and a lady just happened to be standing nearby also browsing.  She started handing me books that looked interesting, and somehow, within a few minutes we were talking about God and how wonderful He is!  She told me about how God brought her brother back from terrible wounds from a car accident, and how she had felt His peace.  I shared a time from my life when I had felt the same peace.  Then we started talking about just how good and loving He is, how He's our first love, and I told her how God had shown me what grace is and how it changed my view of Him so much.  It was so wonderful!  We agreed that we weren't really strangers, we are family in Him!  This was all wonderful enough, just being able to talk about His love and grace with someone and build each other up.  A true grace encounter!

(And these kinds of things NEVER happen to me!  It made me wonder how many people we run across every day who would like to talk about Him or just soak in His love.  Wouldn't it be neat to have a conversation like that every day, to build one another up in Him and His GRACE?)

But then came the icing on the cake!  She said that she knew when I walked up that I was a Christian....she said she sensed God's LOVE in me!  That was just what I needed to be encouraged about!  He knew!  He just dropped a love note down on me through this dear sister, whose name I do not even know!  Isn't He good?  He is so good!  Why me?  Why should He love an extremely ordinary, slightly off-kilter human being who sometimes is just trying to survive another day?  That is just the way He is!  And He loves each person as if they were the only one alive...always seeking to do something special to show His affection for us!

Lately when I think of God, when the thought of Him crosses my mind, the image I see is of Him smiling at me!  Happy!  Every time!  Just wanting to bless and do good things!  He is a wonderful me and to everyone!  He loves us all so very much!

Dear Father God, I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Divine Romance

The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty's all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence, God , I'm completely satisfied!

A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it's filing up the room
Your innocent blood has washed my guilty life
In Your presence, God, I'm completely satisfied!

For You I sing, I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love!

                                                       Phil Wickham

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mt. Rainier

                                 Beautiful Mt. Rainier

I once heard a speaker named Louie Giglio talk about experiencing Mr. Rainier.  He once studied this mountain, it's features, glaciers and geological wonders.  He could rattle off all kinds of facts about this beautiful mountain, and it certainly is impressive when one learns about it:

- It is is highest peak in the Cascade range, at over 14,400 feet, and it towers nearly 8,000 feet above anything else nearby
- Its 36 miles of glaciers give it the largest single-peak glacier system in the world
- It has the world's largest volcanic glacier cave network within its ice-filled craters

Because of its relative height and isolation, it dominates the skyline for miles and miles.  Mr. Rainier has been called the most impressive mountain in the lower 48 states, with a presence like few other mountains in the world.  So one can see why the speaker I heard was amazed and enchanted by it.  Since he studied it in the minutest detail, he felt he knew it well.

But then he took a trip to visit the actual mountain.  Up till that point he had never actually seen Mt. Rainier.  He arrived at the National Park, rounded the final bend, and suddenly he found himself face to face with the REAL Mt. Rainier.  And....he broke down and cried!  He wept!  It was so much more wonderful than he had imagined.  The actual experience of Mt. Rainier in all its beauty moved him to tears.

I loved this story because I felt like that in my experience with God.  I thought I knew who God was.  I thought I knew His character and what He was like.  But I was wrong about Him!

I had known God was love, I had said God was love, but I hadn't really experienced very much what His love really was like.  I had imagined His love was along these lines, "Yes, I love you, but I wish you'd just do better, if only you could do better.."  It was a sort of disappointed love.  Eventually I got burned out on trying to "live the Christian life," feeling like it was too hard, feeling a was a failure.  When I was there in the dust of all my broken down dreams of being some great Christian, right there God lifted my eyes and let me "see" Him face to face.

What I saw was the face of Real Love.  And it turned out to be an unconditional love.  He loved me as a failure, a burn-out.  He loved me as a Pharisee.  He loved me as a lonely child looking for love, never feeling good enough to be loved.  He loved me as I was, where I was.  He accepted me without a single condition, without any requirements or "if only you'd do better" stipulations.  That revelation of who He really was melted my heart and changed me forever!

All that I was longing for, working for, hoping for I already had.  God had already loved me, accepted me, embraced me, and made me "okay" with Him.  All that had come freely through Jesus, the One I'd received long ago by simple faith.  I had feared the look in His eyes might be one of condemnation and displeasure; instead, it was one of complete acceptance and joy!  God wasn't saying "if only you'd do better;"  He was saying, "If only you knew how much I love you and delight in you right now!"

At the end of our broken dreams, at the end of the twisted paths we take, at the end of our good intentions, God is there, "round the final bend."  One look at the real God and our hearts melt.  Our tears flow.  Our fears subside.  Our hopes of loving embrace are realized.  One look in His eyes and we know we are accepted and loved forever, not because of our less than stellar performance, but because of the Son's infinitely perfect performance.  We fly beyond all we thought was true of God up to the summits of what's Really True - we are loved for good, taken into His arms forever, accepted with no chance of being rejected!  And we'll never be the same....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Him

"We are the Holy of Holies filled with the divine presence.....In all that we do, in all our relationships, we are bearers of the divine presence.

"There is not a more intense phrase to describe our union than "you in Me, and I in you."  Your body, mind and emotions are the home of deity through the presence of the Spirit.  Stop and let those words sink in; hold your skin and know the Spirit dwells in every cell of your body.

"A believer can never think of oneself apart from the Spirit of Christ living the life of Jesus within and through them....We can never think of ourselves apart from our being joined to Christ.

"He is in me, in you, in us, in all that we do and all that we experience.  In us He acts, feels our sorrows, and knows our joy....'For me to live is Christ' means that the experience I am going through at this moment, what I am doing, is being experienced by Jesus within me.

"Our lives are not something we tell Him about in our nightly report to Him in prayer, for He has lived them in us second by second.

"The whole point of the being with Him."

                                                                Malcolm Smith
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