Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Delivered from a Sin-Consciousness

Here are some notes I made in my journal recently on being delivered from a sin-consciousness (focusing on what we're doing wrong and wanting to fix it, having guilty and condemned feelings).  I think God works in us to bring us away from sin-consciousness into a consciousness of Him and how He's made us righteous in Christ.  So here are my notes:

We know that all our sin is gone and He doesn't see it anymore.  He remembers it NO MORE!  That means that no matter what we do, God sees us as sinless, in His Son, perfect, as righteous as Christ is, blameless, holy, and in right standing with Him.

He sees us that way because that's the way we are.  He's looking at the spirit, which is the real us.  Our spirits do not sin.  Our spirits have been newly made as pure and righteous, after His image.  We have been made the very righteousness of Christ.  The Spirit of God dwells in us, and where He dwells is holy!  Our spirits are actually joined to the Holy One, to His very Spirit!  That's a perfect union with Perfect Holiness.  We enjoy free and open communion with that Holy Spirit at all times.

So let's look away from our failures and be delivered from a sin conscience.  See yourself as righteous and sin-free like He does.  See and enjoy that perfect relationship.  See yourself in Christ and in the Spirit.  Just enjoy that relationship, free from worrying about sin.  Don't put your focus on trying to stop or avoid sin.  Simply put your focus on Him and the perfect relationship you have with Him.  He is big enough to keep you, so relax and know that He will.  Look at things unseen.  Put your mind on your life with God.

The mind set on the flesh (all that we were in ourselves - think old creation) is death, but the mind set on the Spirit (all that He is in us- think new creation) is life and peace! (Rom. 8:6)

These words were written to remind myself of the truth.  I hope they can encourage someone else as well.  May we all enjoy Son-consciousness rather than sin-consciousness today!

                             With love,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Favorite Quote from Brennan Manning

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Brennan Manning.  I love the way he writes about the love of God.  His is a love that embraces us in our pain, our failure, our trouble, our sorrow.  His is a love that holds on to us no matter what terrible thing we go through (or even do), a love that carries us through the darkness.

"The God I have come to know loves 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 Him come to you on His terms?  Will you let Him love you as you are, and not as you should be?  'Cause nobody..is as they should be."
                                                            Brennan Manning

Feels Like I'm Born Again

Have you ever had the experience of being in a terrible place that you never thought you'd come out of, and then suddenly, unexpectedly, you're out?

I had this experience recently.  Our family went through a difficult time during the last several years:  one of our dear children was born with a complicated birth defect.  Praise God, she's doing well now.  But through that lengthy trial, I became a very sad and anxious person.  I felt I was only a shell of the person I used to be.  I walked through the world but didn't feel part of it, felt I couldn't join in.  I never thought I'd be happy again.  I felt I would be dragging around an emotional weight for the rest of my life.   I had my light-hearted moments, but deep inside I was a wounded person.

During this dark time, God always showed me that He was holding me and accepting me through it all.  His grace was like a lifeline to me.  I knew He was there for me, but still I had a lot of emotional pain.

Then an amazing thing happened.  God brought me to a point where I basically asked Him to baptize (saturate) me in and with His Spirit.  He'd been indwelling me since the day I came to Christ, and now I just wanted to experience all of Him that I could.

I really didn't think that some major change would occur.  And at first, I felt nothing different.  But after a couple of days, something amazing happened.  I could sense His presence with me, and I could sense the darkness lifting.  Suddenly the fears, sadness, and pain were actually gone.  I felt free.  Free!  For the first time in 6 years, I felt free and happy and alive again.  His presence drove out the sadness and anxiety and set me free.  He let me experience the verse that says "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!"  He had been indwelling me all along, and now He manifested His power and presence in a real and strong way.  It was such a grace gift.

It's been exactly two months since this happened to me, and I'm still still shocked that I am actually a happy person again!  The old regular carefree me is back, the person I thought was gone forever.  I really do feel as if I've been born again AGAIN.  I really do feel like a new child of God.  That's why I picked the song above to go with this post.  It is wonderful not to feel achingly sad or lost from the world.  I feel like life is worth living and as if I've got my life back again.  I still have problems, but it's as if He changed my perspective on those problems.  They don't seem bigger than God anymore.  And I don't feel alone and vulnerable in dealing with them.  I know God was always there for me, but I think I felt I was facing my earthly problems alone.  Now He shows me how He is actively working, no matter what my problems are.  There is a Person with me - the Holy Spirit - to take care of and strengthen me, fight pain and fear for me, and fill me with joy in His very presence.  He lives in and through and for me!  In His presence is fullness of joy!  He walks with me through every day and is my best friend.  He is just as grace says He is, loving and accepting, for He is the Spirit of Grace! 

I wanted to share all of this to just tell my story and thank God for this miracle.  But I also wanted to share my heart of love for all who have ever felt as I did - sad, hurt, wounded by life.   I hope that any wounded soul who reads this will know that I understand and have been in the darkness myself.  And I pray that He will bring comfort and healing to you.

He loves us so much and He cries with His children who are in pain.  I have felt Him being sad with me in my sorrow.  His presence surrounds us in the darkness, when we don't feel Him anymore, when we ask ourselves, "Why pray? It doesn't do any good!"  I've felt that myself.  We fail and we give up on God, but He never fails us and never gives up on us.  That's what grace has come to mean to me through all this - not just that He loves and accepts us as we are, but that He is faithful to be actively on our side fighting the pain in our lives and bringing His healing touch.  I believe He is doing that whether we see it, feel it, or even believe it.  Grace means He still works on our behalf even if in our pain, we've turned away from Him, lost hope and given up, and can't even pray or have a single spiritual thought.  He's still for us.  He still works to help.  I didn't ask to be healed emotionally.  I didn't expect to be changed.  I thought I'd be stuck in that pain for the rest of my life.  I didn't have any faith that anything would ever be different for me.  And He reached down and healed my wounded heart anyway.  That's grace!  And He extends that grace to us all...

May His grace overwhelm you as well.  May His Presence minister to you all that you need.  May He bring you joy and peace and renew your hope.  I just pray He will bring His healing touch to all hurts today..and make life worth living again in His sweet presence! 

                 With Love to all,

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Representative Man - Jesus As Us, For Us

"God became a man in order to become a substitution for the whole human race.  Every one of us was "in" Him.  What He did, He did as and for every one of us.

"He became like us in every way except that He did not sin.  He took our place and delivered us from the bondage of sin.  His sinless life was not only lived as His own but also for us and as us.

"When Jesus overcame Satan's temptation in the wilderness, He did so as you and me.  His victory was placed on our account!

"On the cross at Calvary, Jesus took sin and grief from us and bore them as us....He bore all of our griefs and sorrows.  In His death He willingly accepted our punishment for sin...

"His death represented our dying to self - the area of our being that wanted independence from God, thinking that we could find the meaning of life within ourselves...

"When He was buried, we were buried with Him.  As a result, our lives of selfishness and sin are over.

"Jesus rose from the dead to be the beginning of a new human race..

"After Jesus was resurrected from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God, He enabled us to also step into God's presence.  Through the blood of Jesus, we can now fellowship with God...we are..able to stand in the presence of God, accepted by His love."

                                                                 Malcolm Smith

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us.                             Rom. 6:6-10 (MSG)

Everything He did He did for us.  And everything He did, He did as us.  He is our representative man.  So that means when He died, we died.  When He rose, we rose.  I am so happy the old me was left behind in the tomb, and the new me came up from the grave alive!

He took on my sin and guilt and condemnation and sorrow and shame - and all that was killed off at the cross in His body, never to come back!  He took those things into the grave and left them there!  He conquered sin, Satan, and death for me, as me.  All His victory is now mine.   His standing before the Father is now mine.  His goodness is now mine.  His fellowship with God is now mine.  His acceptance before God is now mine.   His very life is mine!

I don't fully grasp all that Jesus did as and for me.  I want to understand it better.  But I do know that in Him, my old self with all its problems died, and in Him, a new self was raised to walk in new life, in His life forever!  Thank You, Lord, for being our representative man, and that everything You did now comes to us.  We reap all the benefits as a free gift of Your grace.  For as You are, so are we in this world!  Amen.

                 With love to all,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Enjoying the Union

We are in union with Him who IS Life!

We are always in His presence!

We are in perfect and intimate communion.

We are never alone or abandoned but always with Him.

We enjoy unbroken fellowship!

We enjoy the smile of God upon us at all times!

We enjoy complete acceptance and unconditional love.

We enjoy His beautiful, wonderful, joy-filled and happy-making Presence at all times!

Face to face with Him.

Our spirit and His Spirit are one forever!

This is what Jesus has done for us - Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your indescribable gift of Yourself, Your very Spirit, to be with one with us always!  Your presence alone gives us rest!  We will never be apart from You.  You have taken away our sin and torn the veil that separated us from God's presence.  Perfect standing before the Father is given to us - Your very standing before Him!  Now nothing will ever separate us from that presence again.  Thank You, Lord!

Forget about sin, failure and struggle!  In His eyes, it's gone!  Enjoy the union!  This is what I say to myself right now...

May we all enjoy the union of our spirits with His Spirit today!

                          With Love,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Inside the Circle of His Love

What was the whole point of Jesus' work?  What was the goal of His incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension?  It was more than just to forgive sins.  It was more than to wipe away guilt and shame.  It was to bring us into Real Life, His Life, which is an unending Life of fellowship and knowing and love!  It's the very Life of the Godhead, dwelling in perfect unity and love at all times, for all eternity.  That's what we've been ushered into through His work!

We have been crucified with Christ, and everything against us has been defeated and taken down to death, never to rise again.  And all that happened to make possible the next step:  union with God who is Love!  We've been raised with Christ and seated in heavenly places with Him, and He's become our very Life!  Our life is now hidden with Christ in God.  We are one with Him and thus inside that circle of Trinity Love.  We are in a perfect relationship with Him.  We are loved.  We are secure.  We are home!

The whole purpose of Christ's coming and work was to bring us into  the Love Life of God!

We have open communion with Him!

We have unhindered fellowship with Him!

We have unthreatened life with Him!

We have uninterrupted union with Him!

Always in His presence, always in His love, always in His favor - always!

Eternal Life is being in His presence forever, loved, nurtured, known, cherished, accepted - in awe, in joy, in wonder, in worship, in love!

                        With love to all,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seeing Reality

Here is a wonderful quote that I copied long ago from an old grace discussion group called Believer's Rest.  This group was like my church when God began revealing His grace to me.  There were several regular post-ers, and even though I never posted at all, I felt I got to know these fellow grace lovers, and God used their words to encourage me so much.  This quote is from a group member named Wes and it's one of my favorites.  It was written to a fellow Christian struggling to believe that God could accept her after the mess she'd made of her life.  I've certainly felt the same way this lady did!  God opened her eyes to His grace and love and it was a beautiful thing.  Here's the quote:

"He will never stop loving you.  He looks at you now, as He always has and always will...whatever you do, whether you believe it or not...He will never stop loving you.

"Why not see reality for once?  See the God who actually IS.  The God who holds you in His arms, whispering His love into your ears...Allow yourself the privilege of hearing His inner voice.  Allow yourself the birthright that is clearly yours.. Allow yourself to be free from condemnation as you've always been.  allow yourself to be swept away in eternal life and love.

"Here's the kicker:  You are sinless, perfect, worthy of Divine love!  You look at yourself and see a mess.  You see your mistakes, problems, weaknesses, fears, etc. as unpardonable sins.  God doesn't see them at all...He sees a beautiful girl.  Do you see yourself as ugly inside and out?  God only sees a heart filled with Himself...Every [bad] thing about you was crucified, killed, buried, and did not rise from the dead.  The only ones who came out of that tomb were Jesus, and us, in Him, made holy, righteous, perfect, and beyond reproach!  That includes self-reproach.  No matter what we may think, say, or do, that's the fact!

"Can you see yourself the way God already does?  Can you open your eyes and look into the eyes that have been adoring your since the eternity before you were born?  There's nothing you can do to screw this up.  It would be easier for you to escape your own shadow than to change the way God views you!"


Thursday, August 19, 2010

How He Sees Us

This is how He sees us, what He says to us:

"My darling, everything about you is beautiful, and there is nothing at all wrong with you.  My sister, my bride, you have thrilled my heart; you have thrilled my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one sparkle of your necklace."
                                                Song of Songs 4:7,9

Those words really caught my attention - 
"EVERYTHING about you is beautiful.."
"There is NOTHING at all wrong with you.."
God says everything about us is beautiful and nothing about us is wrong!
It's hard to believe that we have thrilled His heart, but it's true!
May you revel in His wonderful love for you today!

                    With love to all,

He Included Me

I am so happy in Christ today,
That I go singing along my way;
Yes, I’m so happy to know and say,
“Jesus included me, too.”

Gladly I read, “Whosoever may
Come to the fountain of life today”;
But when I read it I always say,
“Jesus included me, too.”

Ever God’s Spirit is saying, “Come!”
Hear the Bride saying, “No longer roam”;
But I am sure while they’re calling home,
Jesus included me, too.

“Freely come drink,” words the soul to thrill!
O with what joy they my heart do fill!
For when He said, “Whosoever will,”
Jesus included me, too.

Jesus included me, yes, He included me,
When the Lord said, “Whosoever,” He included me;
Jesus included me, yes, He included me,
When the Lord said, “Whosoever,” He included me.

                                                                Johnson Oatman

I remember reading in a book (The Rest of the Gospel, by Dan Stone) that sometimes when speaking of Jesus' work for us and the gift of Himself to us, people will say, that's true, but not for me.  I've said this too.  It's almost as if the mentality is:  "Jesus died, but not for me...forgiveness is real, but not for me...the Holy Spirit is there, but not for me...righteousness is a gift, but not for me...being dead to sin and the law is true, but not for me."  This kind of thinking has left me feeling lacking and unworthy in the past, and like I'm left out of the blessing for some frustrating, unknown reason.  But this kind of thinking is a LIE!  The truth is, God's gift is free and is for everyone!  If you're a "whosoever," then you are included.  Think of all that is wrapped up in His gift of Christ's life to and in us.  And that is for ALL who wish to receive!

It amazes me that His gift is for everyone who wishes, received so easily by simple faith!  I have been thinking lately about the FREE gift He gives.  How could He give so much, offering it as free just for the taking???  It's incredible that He would just give away eternal life to all takers, simply to be received by faith!  And truthfully, doesn't He even give us the grace of faith to receive?  What a good God!  Everything in this life with God is a purely free gift! A gift with not a single string attached..now that's grace!

Sometimes we may feel we'll be left out of His gift-giving because we think we're unworthy.  But we don't have to be worthy!  That's why they call His way the way of GRACE!  Grace means a gift you don't have to deserve.  A gift that comes to those troubled by sin and doubt and shame.  For the sins that so trouble us aren't troubling to God - He's already removed them as far as the east is from the west by the death of His Son and He doesn't remember them or ever bring them to mind!  What's on His mind is giving us LIFE!  He longs above all else to give the gift of His very life to all.  Our simple prayer of receptive faith is the prayer God ALWAYS answers, for why wouldn't He?  It's perfectly in line with His will, the will of the One who is not wishing that any would perish but that all would come to know Him.

His gift is freely given to all who desire it.  Noone is left out.  Whoever wishes may come and drink the water of life freely - without cost.  It cost Him everything and it costs us nothing!  All who ask will receive!   There is noone to whom the gift of grace and righteousness and eternal life is denied.  He gives us His very Spirit to live in us and with Him comes life, peace, joy, righteousness, victory, abundance, strength, hope...wow!  God has placed in our hands the wonderful gift of HIS LIFE, we simply receive it by faith, "Oh, that is mine!  Thank You, Lord!"  That's true for everyone, "whosover" they may be!  We can all say, "yes, it's true, even for me.."

Whosover will, let him take the free gift of the water of life.  Rev. 22:18

When the Lord said "Whosoever," He included you and me!

                    With love to all,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wonderful Grace Quotes

I read some wonderful words on the facebook page of Luke GraceCase Darlow recently and wanted to share a few of them here:

"God made a home in me by making me His righteousness.  Faith in the finished work breeds intimacy which breeds fruit.

"Jesus didn't come to teach us a lesson - He came to live in us.

"What can you give to a God who has it all?  Nothing except the reception of His accomplishments.

"Grace has the beautiful knack of bringing you into the presence of God and locking the door behind you!

"God has NO, I mean NO, expectations on you!  but He has HUGE expectations of Himself!

"The first thing that happened after the event of the cross - the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn!  The primary objective of the cross was to get constantly into the Presence!

"His glory and presence will fix your problems better than any formula or principle and especially law!

"Have you got a problem you don't like in your life?  Something your really want to change?  I guarantee you the only way you can get that away is by not focusing on it!  Instead focus on the grace of God and His gospel because the gospel is the power of God...

"Only grace in super abundance will allow the church to reign in life!  And guess what, change isn't a requirement.  You are accepted as you are..

"Even if I'm not victorious..even if I don't overcome, I remain firm in THE Overcomer, THE Victor...Therefore, my identity is victorious and overcoming.

"The purpose of God making us the righteousness is so that He could permanently dwell in and on us...Grace and the grace message is really only an invitation to experience intimacy with God, in the form of the Holy Spirit."
                                                 Luke GraceCase Darlow

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh, Happiness! There is Grace Enough for Us

Oh, happiness
There's grace enough for us
And the whole human race

Friend or foe
Stranger or kin
All who come
Begin again

Hard or frail
Rich or poor
All in need
Need fear no more

Such a thing to give away

All regrets
Let go, forget
There's something that
Mends all of it

                                              David Crowder Band

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When We Sing, This Is What He Hears

As I watched this beautiful performance by little Jackie Evancho I was moved to tears.  It inspired some beautiful thoughts..

When we sing, this is what God hears!

When His little children sing, He hears a heavenly song!

We are delightful in His eyes - we're His pride and joy!

We're like a beautiful melody in His ears, and He is so pleased with the new creation He has made us.

Let's not think of ourselves as little and insignificant and ordinary - the very music of heaven pours from us!

And when we sing, I think we move our Daddy to tears...

                      With love to all,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Grace Accepts and Empowers

Grace is God accepting us as we are.
And Grace is also God lifting us up to where He is.

Grace is God loving us when we feel bound by fear, hopelessness and anxiety.
And Grace is God showing us our freedom from all those things.

Grace is God loving us in the darkness.
And Grace is God making the light of His presence to dawn on us.

Grace is God embracing us in the gutter.
And Grace is God lifting us out of the gutter.

Grace is God loving us no matter how we feel.
And Grace is God showing us that feelings don't always indicate our true reality.

Grace is God understanding our pain.
And Grace is God bringing His healing touch to our wounded places as only He can.

Grace is God forgiving the ungodly.
And Grace is God recreating us righteous!

Grace is God loving people who are dead in sin.
And Grace is God making people alive in Christ!

Grace is God taking away our sin at the cross.
And Grace is God taking us into His arms forever!

Grace is God accepting us in our shame and self-hatred.
And Grace is God lifting off that shame and self-hatred.

Grace is God embracing us when we seem unlovable.
And Grace is God giving us Himself as the Love we've dreamed of all our lives!

Grace accepts us in our weakness and nothingness.
And Grace empowers us with the very Life of Christ Himself!

                          Grace to all,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

God in the Darkness

I was reading aloud from the book Heidi recently to my kids, and we were so glad when little Heidi, who had been taken from her dear grandfather in the mountains to live in the faraway city, is finally allowed to come home again.  All the homesick days now over, she walks up the mountain and cries with happiness to see the mountains glow in the late afternoon sun.  And after the reunion with grandfather, she sleeps on the hay in her little loft, sleeps more soundly than in all the time she'd been away.  Heidi is home again.  As I was reading this part of the story, I choked up a bit, and it was as if God said to me, "That's you."

I have been in the dark places.  I have felt that homesick longing for things to be like they once were.  I have struggled to sense God's love for me in those moments.  I have condemned myself for not being more victorious over my problems, for being more fear-full than faith-full.  I have wondered if I would ever be happy again.  Wondered if I would ever find a way out of the darkness.

And yet, by His miraculous means, God in His grace did restore me to hope and faith and happiness.  He made me aware of His presence and love.  He brought me home in my heart.  He even showed me I'd always been home with Him through that whole dark journey.  That He'd been holding me and loving on me and working things out for me all that lonely time.  That I was completely and perfectly accepted by Him the whole time.

God's grace tells us we're home again.  Christ has brought us back home for good.  And though we may go through terrible struggles and darkness in this world, He will bring us to a place of experiencing love and hope again.

For those in the darkness, I wish to let you know I've prayed for you today.  I have been there too.  And I wish to tell you that you aren't forgotten.  You aren't alone in your pain.  Someone is there and is actively working on your behalf.  You are understood and embraced.  You are at home in His arms no matter what, and He WILL bring you to experience that safe sense of belonging and hope and joy again.  That is what my heart tells me is true, for that is just the way my God is.  His love doesn't fail us, ever.

                           With love,

More from Norman Grubb on Our Union With Christ

More great thoughts from Norman Grubb:

Road to Familiarity

These are the simple facts of revelation (and we can follow their logic, as well as their tragedy and wonder):
What the Bible calls sin is, in one phrase, independent self. The created self was made to contain and express the Creator Self who is selfless love.
Instead, in the person of Lucifer, probably the created being nearest to God Himself, a new and horrible form of life came into existence: a created self who refused to contain the selfless Self of God but chose to live for and by himself. Lucifer was the sin-spirit, the spirit of self-love, self-seeking, and all the sins known to man that proceed from that.
The history of the creation of man in the Garden of Eden tells us what happened to our forefather. He was created to contain God in a living union, which was symbolized for him in the offer of "the tree of life in the midst of the garden."
But as a human being with free choice, he could take another way—the way of self-love: symbolized for him in the other tree in the midst of the garden—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Deceived by the lying spirit of Satan, he received into himself the spirit of error rather than the Spirit of truth, and became a child of the Devil. Since then the whole human race is born with the spirit of self-centeredness in it. The Bible calls it "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
That we are all born and live under that domination is obvious, for we are all by nature egoists and self-lovers. Every breath we breathe, therefore, is sin—because anything less than God's perfection is sin, and God's perfection is perfect love. But such total love to God and our brother is totally impossible without God who is love living in us.

Two Problems Solved
What, then, has He who is Love, and therefore must save, done to restore His lost humanity to Himself?
He has taken flesh Himself to start a new race. In the Person of His Son, Jesus, He came into history as a man called "the last Adam," the Creator of the first. Having lived a perfect life which the first Adam failed to live, He then identified Himself totally with the fallen human race by dying for us. In that death He was so identified with us all in God's sight that the Bible says, "He made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. Thus, He died. In doing so, the Bible reveals that He effected the two supreme deliverances that were the two absolute necessities.
First, He solved God's problem (or rather, God solved His own problem) by taking upon Himself the curse of the broken law, and being made a curse for us. By the shedding of His blood, His outpoured life, He became God's "mercy seat."
By this, God could both be just and justify the ungodly, and pronounce all believers in Jesus justified from all unrighteousness-for-given, cleansed, in His sight as if we had committed no sin; "made the righteousness of God in Him." Broken law has consequences. That is the nature of law. God, farseeing that we should all be lawbreakers, foreordained His Son to be "the propitiation through faith in His blood."
What God revealed to be the necessary atonement for sin, He Himself suffered. What He suffered He accepted. And His acceptance is our justification (as the Scripture says, "raised again for our justification"). What is good enough for God is good enough for us. "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot unto God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Secondly, Christ's cross and resurrection solved our problem. For by this means He fully effected the destruction of the old union of humanity to Satan and replaced it by the new union to Himself.
Our problem is simply that in our unredeemed life our inner self, our spirit, was united to the self-loving spirit of Satan.
As a consequence, we followed the desire of soul and body. When our bodies stimulated appetites in us, we gratified them. When our souls stirred up pride or dislike of this or hate of that or love of that—we just followed them.
We were governed by our souls and bodies.

Replacement for Soul Life

But when Christ died, it says that "He died unto sin once." That means that in His death, as our Representative, our last Adam, He became separated from the sin-spirit which had invaded the human spirit—just as anybody in death is separated from his spirit. And in His resurrection He was "made alive by the Spirit."
In other words, the Spirit of truth—God Himself—united Himself to that last Adam, and thus united Himself to all who will accept their place by faith as participators in His death and resurrection.
Here was the beginning of the new and final creation, when the usurping person was cut off from the possession he had deceitfully gained of the human spirit; when the true Owner, the living God, replaced him in all who receive Jesus.
This is no Biblical theory. This is the most tremendous and dynamic event in human history!

Here is our title to union—to permanent familiarity—with God!
For example, use this little illustration.
On Sunday morning you say your duty is to go to church. But you get a blustery day, wind and snow, and you don't feel like going. But you go anyway.
Why? Because down inside you purpose to go. You say, "Oh, I don't feel like going, but I'm going."
There you've got the point. Now you have moved from soul to spirit, you see.
Reason is exactly the same. Reason is the faculty by which we explain things and argue about them and talk about them. Through these words I've tried to use my reason, which is my soul life, to explain what I claim to know. I claim to know Jesus Christ; I try to explain myself to you—that's my reason.
You see, reasons can differ. That is why we can differ in our opinions and explanations—our soul life—but be one in Christ-in our spirit life.
I've always been one to dig into things. I took up philosophy just as a hobby and got my reason thoroughly shaken. I said to myself, "I'm really not so sure that there is a God at all. Yet," I said, "I know Him and love Him and have done so for years—yet He may not be a living Person at all!"
My reason conveyed doubts to me.
My spirit said, "But I know Him!"
So do you know what I came to? I said, "Well, if God is the big illusion, I'll be a little illusion alongside Him. I love the 'Illusion,' that's all."
You see, I would not be governed by my reason—my soul—because I had something deeper, more real.
Of course, in due time, I came out more strongly confirmed in soul, or reason, as well as spirit-knowledge. Doubts are the raw material of faith.
Have we got it clear?
The consequence of broken law which we must inevitably suffer, stated in most direct and terrible fashion again and again in the words of Jesus and the writings of the apostles, was borne by God Himself in the Person of His Son. If we ask, how can the blood of any man atone for the sin of all, the answer is that this was the blood of Deity made flesh.
The enslaved condition of humanity, through the indwelling spirit of self-centered-ness, with which every man is born, was ended at the cross!
Christ, as our representative, died to that enslavement—that sin-spirit; and again as our representative, was raised from the dead by "the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead."
Thus, this change of union from the spirit of self-centeredness to the spirit of self-giving becomes an actual, down-to~earth fact in the personality and experience of every human being who, recognizing and admitting his need, receives Him as Lord and Savior.
Your old spirit is replaced by your new Spirit!
You were governed by soul and body. Now, as a redeemed person, the Spirit—His Spirit in your spirit—is master of soul and body.
You meet the demands of the bodily senses, the varying emotions of the soul stimulated by world, flesh or desire, with the affirmation of the indwelling Christ as Lord.
Soul and body become the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
Here, indeed, is the key to being a normal person—free, happy, familiar, natural—released from the spirit of self-love into the boundless, creative outflowing energy of the new governing Spirit that indwells you: His Spirit.
Here, indeed, is the key to everything.

                                                        Norman Grubb
                                                        (from The Key to Everything)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Norman Grubb on Our Union With Christ

Here are some wonderful thoughts on our union with Christ from Norman Grubb:

Your Other Self

Normal humanity is God-indwelt.
Humanity which is not indwelt by Deity is subhuman. Can you offer proof of that, you say? Yes, I can. I can give you proof from the only perfect human who has ever lived on earth.
Jesus Christ was a real human. (That's why I love to call Him Jesus, though He is the Lord
Jesus Christ.) He was the Son of God, but if He called Himself the Son of God five times, He called Himself Son of man fifty-five times. Which means He was a representative man—one of us.
Notice what Jesus said each time He was challenged on the source of His power to work miracles or His authority to say what He did. Every time He answered, "The Son can do nothing of Himself."
In other words, His basic self-consciousness as a human was awareness of His nothingness in Himself!
His statements about the Father often puzzled the disciples. He would say, "I do what I see the Father do," "as I hear, I judge," "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." They wondered whether He had some strange means of communication with His "Father in heaven."
He revealed their true meaning in what I think is the most important conversation ever recorded. It was the first time in actual human words that the union of man and God is revealed. It came in that last conversation at the supper table before He went out to Gethsemane.
He kept saying He was going to the Father, but the Spirit had not come; therefore, a normal human could only understand outward relationships — one person here, another there, each person separate from the other.
So when He talked about the Father, the disciples thought He must be some Being way up in the blue. Feeling desperate that Jesus was going to whom they knew not, Philip made a commonsense request:
"Lord, show us the Father and that will suffice us."
In other words, "Open Heaven, and let us have one look at the One to whom You say You are going."
Remember Jesus' answer? He said, "Have I been so long with you, yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. How sayest thou then, 'Show us the Father'?"
Now you might stop with that statement and say, "Well, that's Deity. He meant that their names were interchangeable — Father, Son and Spirit, and they could call Him Father or Jesus."
But He didn't mean that, for the next verse says this: "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works."
When Jesus said He did what He saw the Father doing it was not that He had some telescopic view into Heaven, but that as the Father in Him took Him into various situations and faced Him with various needs He would know this was a call to action. As He saw the Father moving into action, He took action. The action of faith.
The same was true of the words He spoke. He was expressing the thoughts and words the Father thought and spoke in Him.
So you see the human nothingness and the divine union? Yet that doesn't mean that we do nothing.
No one was more active than Jesus Christ! But the activity was secondary to receptivity.
An outstanding characteristic of the life of Jesus was His relaxed attitude. He was always saying, "I have what the Father gives Me." Yet what words He spoke and deeds He did!
You see, that relaxed attitude is a normal human attitude-because a vessel hasn't anything except the capacity to contain. So relax!

Two, But One
Someone may say, "Well, Jesus Christ was a unique person. Can we say we're just like Jesus Christ?"
Yes, you can.
The chapter ends as Jesus says, "Arise, let us go hence." It appears to me that as they moved from the supper table toward Gethsemane, He wanted to give one other illustration to connect them up with what He had said of Himself and the Father. They passed through a vineyard.
"See," He said, "I have been the branch of My Father. He has been My vine; His sap has been flowing through Me, and I have just been bearing the fruit.
"Now," He said, "I am your vine and you are My branches. We are to have the same union which I have had with the Father, and apart from Me ye can do nothing."
Some years later, as a passing remark in the midst of another subject, Paul made a marvelous statement in I Corinthians 6:17 that reveals the nature of that union: "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
That's the real self, and the basis for our union: one spirit, not two spirits. The very same thing that Jesus said of Himself and the Father ("I and my Father are one") Paul says of us.
A great many of our confusions in life begin because we haven't discerned between soul and spirit. The Bible analyzes the human personality into three parts (for everything is a trinity). It speaks of "your whole spirit and soul and body" in I Thessalonians 5:23.
Look at the order: not body, soul and spirit—that's our order. God's order is spirit first: "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless."
To put it briefly, spirit is the seat of ego; soul is the seat of the emotions and of reason.
Spirit is the ego, the self. God is spirit and He is the first ego, the first self. We are spirits, of whom He is the Father (Hebrews 12:9). He is the Creator of body and soul, but the Father of spirits.
Down in that center—the spirit—is where you know and love. Knowledge and love-mind and heart-are the real self, the real person. That's where you irrevocably live.
Paul, in I Corinthians 2:11, said, "What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him?" The knower inside us is our spirit.
For instance, we Christians know Jesus Christ. How do you know Jesus Christ? I can't tell you. Somehow you've come past the realm of just knowing about this Person called Jesus Christ and He is real to you.
In the same way, a person knows music, knows art, knows science.

I understand that, you say. I'm at home with that. The knower just knows!
That isn't giving a reason, is it? It's something intuitive inside you, and that's your spirit. . That's different from reason.
But your soul is more external. It is how you express your spirit.
Your mind (your knowledge) expresses itself in reasons. But reasons can vary. They can be influenced by all sorts of things.
Your heart expresses itself through the affections, the emotions. That's where you feel. But feelings can vary—quite apart from the set purposes of the heart. We say, "I don't feel like this," or "I feel spiritually cold, or dead or dry," and they are all illusions of the soul.
Neither reason nor emotion is our real life, which is deep inside us.
Now, we live where we love. That's what the Bible calls the heart. That's not the emotions; it's the set of life, the choices, the purposes where one of the two spirits is joined to us—the false spirit of self-love, called the spirit of error, who is in us from birth—or the true spirit of self-giving, the Spirit of God, called "the Spirit of truth," who replaces the false spirit in us by redemption and rebirth.
We have to learn how to discern between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). We have to refuse in our spirit, our real selves, to be dominated by the reactions of the emotions or the reasons—our souls.

When we have learned to discern and to discipline the reactions of the soul, then through our reasons and our emotions we channel Christ, and are not moved by the reflex action of the world coming back at us.
But how can I do this? you say.
You can do this because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
The Bible reveals that God, who is spirit, is an invisible Person. He always expresses Himself.
He expresses the kind of Person He is through His Son; that's the soul of God. The soul of God is Jesus Christ.

Visible-and Invisible-Life

So with us, our spirits are our invisible selves, and we have to have a form of expression. The form of expression is the soul life.
And it's in our soul life that we differ.
In the spirit we're undifferentiated. You and I are exactly the same, eternally one person in the Spirit. You and I are one unit.
I'm sorry for you, but you've got to have me. Because we're all one!
But in our souls we differ: you're very quick and I'm slow. One person is cautious, another person is dashing. Variety is in our soul life-that is, in the emotions and the reason. These are the varied expression of the inner spirit.
Now you may say in your soul life—in your emotions or your reason—"l don't like that person."
We have an affinity with some people and not with others. We're just made like that.
But you have to move back from your soul-affections (your emotions) to the inner spirit-love.
This business of emotions is most important, because dozens of Christians live with their feet dragging with a sense of condemnation and failure because they feel away from God, or the feel cold, or they feel guilty, or they feel weak, and so on.
They haven't discerned between the variable emotions of the soul and the unvarying reality of spirit—where God's Spirit of love is eternally our other self in our spirit.
How can I be cold when I've got that permanent fire within me-Jesus Christ?
Move back from your soul-affections and say, "No, He's here."
How can I feel dry when I have a permanent well of water inside me-Jesus Christ?

Not Emotion, But Reality
You move back from your affections, your emotions, to the real love-center—because "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
The other verse that goes with that one, which I always think is so marvelous, is perhaps my favorite in the Bible. It is Galatians 2:20, where Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ
That's the old Paul out.
Then he says, "..... nevertheless, I live."
That's the new Paul in Christ: a living, thinking, willing, feeling, battling human. A real person.
But listen: then he corrects himself and adds, "Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."
He could very easily have said, "Nevertheless I live and Christ lives in me"—as if Christ lived near him or close by him.
But you see, he replaced self by Christ.
That's the point.
He said, "Nevertheless, I live—excuse me, the real I isn't I at all, it is Christ."
In other words, your other self is Christ. It is not you, it's Christ. There are two selves joined in one; and the other self is Christ.
That's why it's indivisible. That's why it's ridiculous to look around or above and try to find Christ.
You don't try to find yourself, do you? Wherever you go, you are there, aren't you?
However you feel about it, you can't escape your self.
And your other self is Christ; you can't escape Him either!
I'm sorry if Christ has to go where you go! But that's His business!
In the grace of God, Jesus Christ tied Himself to us.
Isn't that amazing? You can't escape Him.
Where you go, He goes. He's your other self; He's not you.
You're you; He's He.
You contain Him; He motivates you. And you learn the habits of this abiding life.
He is the one who lives it.
You are His means of expressing Himself.
Motivation by Jesus Christ; that's the eternal life which we who know Him have already begun!

                                                        Norman Grubb
                                                       (from The Key to Everything)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Don't Think About the Snake

Every morning I usually take a short walk in the woods behind our house.  My neighbor, who owns the woods and lets us use them, calls this walk my "morning constitution."  It certainly helps to clear my head and get me ready for the day, and sometimes I like to sing or pray while walking. 

As I'm walking on the trail, my mind is usually off somewhere else lost in thought.  So I don't always notice where I'm walking.  One day recently as I took a step, I happened to see that my foot was about 5 inches from a snake's head, with the rest of said snake following close behind.

When I saw this snake (not poisonous, just a good old black snake) so close to my foot, I yelled and jumped and got a good adrenaline rush!  And when I realized upon watching closely that this snake seems to make his home in a nearby woodpile, I felt a little antsy.  Would this disturb the peace of my morning walk?  Would I always feel I needed to watch out for this snake?  Would I be in a constant nervous state about him showing up on my walking path again?

Well, the next day I went out for my walk, and I had already forgotten about the snake.  I was able to just enjoy a good walk and some time with Jesus.  What a relief that the snake wasn't on my mind in a way that would have ruined my enjoyment of that walk.

This whole incident really made me think.  I don't think God wants us to always be thinking about the "snake", the evil one, or his temptations or even of the ways we may sometimes give in to those temptations (sin).  That would take away from the main purpose of our lives - to walk through each day communing with God.  I think He wants our eyes not on avoiding the snake but on enjoying Him!   I don't want to focus on the evil one and his doings to try to get me to sin - Christ already defeated him anyway and already dealt with my sins on the cross.  So the snake is defeated and cannot snatch me from God's strong hand; that means I don't have to fear or be worried or focus on him.  I want to focus on Christ.  I want to live my life enjoying the union I have with Christ because of His victory over the snake!

So we don't think about the snake, we think about God, the One who walks through this life with us.  His grace has brought us into intimacy with Him, and this Christian life isn't about dealing with the snake, it's about our love relationship with God!

                     With love to all,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's A Love Without End

Our Daddy will never reject or leave us, no matter what we do or don't do and no matter what happens in our lives!  It's so simple, really, isn't it?  He wiped away all our sin on the cross and He freely gives Life with no strings attached  - we simply receive by faith.  And we enter into a Life with no end, characterized by a Love with no end!  This love won't ever let us go.  Love is just like that!  It doesn't see faults, it only sees its Beloved!  When He looks at you and me, He sees not one shortcoming; He sees His perfect little child!  And He will love us through every single situation we face today, tomorrow, and for all our lives..

We're held in the arms of Forever Love!  His is a Love without end, Amen!

             In His Unending Love,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Christ Lives the Christian Life

"The Christian life is easy - I just let Him live it."  I read this statement long ago on a Christian message board, and it really stuck with me.  Easy?  There have been so many times in my life where I've thought the Christian life was hard and even impossible.  It seemed the more I tried to root out the sinful thoughts I found popping up within me, the more I seemed to fall into sin.  Eventually it seemed I was thinking more about sin and getting rid of it than about Christ and His presence in my life.  Condemnation and shame began to weigh me down.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't live this Christian life!

I think that was exactly what I needed to see.

Nobody can live the Christian life.  Nobody but Christ.

We were never meant to live this life on our own, by our efforts, or even with His help.  We were meant to express His life, which means to me that He lives it through us.  It looks like us.  But it's Him flowing through.

The Christian life is easy if I don't have to live it.  It's easy if I don't have to stop sinning on my own power.  It's easy if I don't have to figure out every detail of my life's direction.  It's easy if I don't have to handle my problems.  It's easy if I can rest.  It's easy if He lives it for me, as me.  It looks like me.  But it's Him.

I think we are constantly being brought back to the reality that we can't live this Christ-Life, but that He can and will.  I find He constantly brings me back to looking to Him within to handle every problem, every situation, every temptation, every fear or worry that comes, every decision.

Jesus, You will have to handle this life of mine.  Because I see, and You've taught me, that I can't handle it.  Praise You that I was never meant to.  I am not an independent agent, out there to fend for myself.  I am ever linked to You!  Yoked together, we are so ONE in spirit that we're inseparable.  You will have to live this life.  And because we're yoked together, I will be living it too, but we'll both know that I'm only a vessel.  The wine is You.  The Life is You.  You are the One who does it all!

There is nobody in us but HIM.  The evil one isn't there, our sinful nature is dead and gone and not there, the old man isn't there, even we ourselves as an independent agent of self-effort aren't.  He alone fills this cup.  He will pour out!

The Christian life is easy when we let HIM live it!  Because Jesus can handle anything.  Easily!

                         With love to all,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Pure Gift

Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners... and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.

Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.

A pure gift.

He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.

And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.

                                                            Rom. 3:23-4
                                                            The Message

We're made right with God by Jesus' finished work, all a gift by God's grace!  We simply receive (by faith) and enjoy this wonderful gift!  Life with God isn't about trying to get right or stay right with Him - it's about enjoying the right relationship that He's ALREADY given us as a pure grace gift!   When we see our imperfections and failures and think that messes up our relationship with Him, His Spirit within is saying that we are perfectly related to God, that we are fine in Him, that we are okay with Him.  He's already taken care of every sin.  Every sin is gone, taken out of the way on the cross forever.  Now it's time to enjoy the party!  That's the love party being thrown to celebrate His grace and love and presence in our lives, and His victory over sin, condemnation and death!   It's time to just "be" with Him who loves us, to share our deepest thoughts, to enjoy one another other, to walk through life hand in hand and heart in heart!  Nothing will ever come between us!  Sin doesn't matter - it doesn't change our relationship with Him ONE BIT!  Sin will never make Him go away - on the contrary, He made sin go away from us!  In His presence is perfect freedom, love, strength, joy and acceptance!  We have the irrevocable gift of right standing with God - a perfect, right and acceptable union relationship with Him.  What a joy!

                        With love to all,
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