Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Joseph Prince on what it means to be "In Christ"

Here's a wonderful sermon clip about being in Christ, knowing our real identity is in Him...

It's so wonderful to think of being in Christ!

To know that my true self is not this struggling mass of flesh but that my true, real self is Christ!  Wow, what a statement...

To know that it's not that I have to somehow face life's challenges alone, but that Christ Himself is representing me on this earth, and HE is going to face those challenges for me!

To know that God doesn't see me and all my struggles and sins, no! - When God looks at me, He sees Christ and is perfectly pleased with what He sees!

To know that I have died and that old sinful self I used to be is GONE, and now I am a new self!

To know that just as Jesus is seated at the right hand of God as the perfect man, because I am identified with Christ, God sees me as a perfect man (woman)!

"As He is, so are we in this world!"

Joseph Prince says that the phrase "in Christ" means that God is looking at Jesus as   our true self now!  God is treating us like Jesus!  So why should we treat ourselves like trash, he asks.  Yes, why?!  Why should I shame myself and condemn myself and find fault with myself when God sees me as Jesus! Perfect and beautiful and righteous in every way!

Pastor Prince says, "We are no more in self; we have died and our identity before God is CHRIST HIMSELF!"  I really want that to sink in today..  :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gregg Gibbons on the Call to Relationship

Here is another of the weekly newsletters sent out by my friend and brother in Christ, Gregg Gibbons.  A lot of what is written below is by his friend, Mike Daniel.

It was so touching to read this newsletter, and I really wanted to pass it along and share it!

What a relief to read in this newsletter about what God wants - not so much for us to DO something for Him or become BETTER, but for Him to DO something for us and give us the BEST - a perfect relationship with Him!

Wasn't that the whole point of the cross and resurrection and sending of the Spirit?  So that God and man could be together in perfect union and fellowship for all time, with Him filling us with Himself, so we could enjoy abundant life with Him - that is what LIFE was meant to be!  Walking with our Dear Savior, Father, and Friend forever in a love relationship!  It's so tempting to get into works, issues, struggles, and the things of the natural life.  But we have something so much better - a SUPERnatural life in union with our Loving God!

Here is the newsletter, called "The Call to Relationship" -

When it pleased God
who separated me from my mother's womb
and called me through His grace,
so that I might preach Him.
Galatians 1:15-16 

I love how this verse reveals that we, as God's children, are not called to do anything for God, but that, first  and foremost, we are called for God to do something most glorious for us: 


When God the Father reveals the life of His Son in us, He is moving us to do everything in relation to His Son.  In the above verse, only after Christ was revealed in Paul was Paul moved to preach Christ (and not to preach about Christ).

The following biblical-based notes by my  friend Mike Daniel have encouraged me during trying circumstances this year.  You can read more at www.StoneLife.org. 

God has designed every single circumstance in your life, no matter how small or how large, to have a relational purpose with His dear Son.

God is not calling you to overcome circumstances.  He is calling you into a deeper reliance and relationship with the indwelling Christ in the circumstances.

God is not calling you to be better at your finances.  He is calling you into a deeper reliance and relationship with Him as your Source of all your provisions and as your Wisdom with what you do with your finances. 

God is not calling you to be a better spouse.  He is calling you into a deeper reliance and relationship with Him to love your spouse through you with the very love of Christ.

So, God's grace in and through you by the life of Christ is for His renown to be increased, not yours. 

In our Rest Stop verse, Paul responded and related to the revealed life of Christ in him.  It is God's grace that initiates  everything in your life.  God is the Source of true life.  Christ is true life in you.

When you think that you are initiating something in relation to God, you are deceived.  God is the great Initiator.  Christ is always initiating life (His life) in you. 

And God is the gracious Inviter.  He is always inviting you to relate to Him in His grand redemption plan for this world.  What a glorious invitation!

Ian Thomas well said:  Faith is not you getting God engaged in your agenda.  Faith is God drawing you to be personally engaged with Him in His agenda.

And Corrie Ten Boon well said:  It is not my ability but my response to God's ability that counts.


I love how this picture shows a child continuously connected to the risen Christ by holding His glorified, yet still nail-scarred, hand.  The child is simply relating to Jesus as they walk and talk together. 

And this precious child (you) can be sure Jesus is leading you in paths of righteousness and for His Name sake! 

This relationship is thriving in you each moment through the Holy Spirit!  You are united with the life of Christ and God your Father is providing you, His child, every need to fulfill the purposes He invites you into with Him!

Gregg Gibbons

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jesus Culture sings "Your Love Never Fails"

God put this song in my heart this morning..He often does that, and I don't even realize there's a song in the "background" really, and then I become aware of the song He has given me and I am always so touched and blessed! 

This song has a wonderful message - that God's love won't ever, ever fail us!  

Even if we run away, HE won't!  

Even if we face dark nights, HE will bring us a joyful morning!  

He won't let us down!  He will keep every promise to us - SURELY His goodness and UNFAILING LOVE will follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in His presence forever!  (Ps. 23:6). 

His love is so powerful, alive and active!  His love is not just the kind of love that says, I accept you and am always with you..that is amazing and miraculous, yet His love goes beyond that and is so much more..  It is so much greater than that, so that we can't ever begin to even comprehend or fathom it!  His love isn't just accepting and embracing - His love is also active and powerful, rescuing, delivering, uplifting and truimphing!  He doesn't just accept us, He doesn't just delight in us, He doesn't just stay with us in the trials and troubles - He actually lifts us up from the trouble, lifts us up on eagles' wings to soar over the troubles and problems!  He is a God of solutions and a God of victory!  His love is victorious and moves on our behalf to help us, uplift us, and bring us through to victory.  I don't believe He will rest until He has done that - He will complete the work He has started in us and bring us through in victory to our heavenly home.  His great love doesn't just motivate Him to look on us with delight and tenderness and favor - His love actually MOVES Him to act on our behalf and change situations, give us escapes from trouble, lift us up out of darkness and depression, and give us hope, joy, peace and victory, ever leading us in triumph.."joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life!"  As the old hymn says, because of His great love for us, He "melts the clouds of sin and sadness, drives the dark of doubt away, gives immortal gladness, fills us with the light of day!" And because His love is UNfailing, always coming through for us, always faithful, sure and reliable, we can be sure He will do that for us every time.

He and His love won't let us down! What a wonderful God and what wonderful love!

Thank You, Lord, that Your love will never run out..Your love will never fail us!

Your Love Never Fails (sung by Jesus Culture)

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails
I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone here in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails
The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nowhere Else I'd Rather Be..Than in Your Heart

Here is a great old song from a group my husband likes and introduced me to..the Seventy Sevens sing here "Nowhere Else."

This one's going out today to Jesus, from Sparrow!  There's nowhere else I'd rather be, but in Your Heart, dear Jesus, in Your eyes, in Your arms!  I know I'm safe with You and I love the way You love and care for me, protect and look after me, understand and hug me!

There Is Nowhere Else I'd Rather Be
Than in Your Heart
There Is Nowhere Else I Wanna Be
But in Your Eyes
In Your Arms

The Moon Blew Through the Valley
Carried Away the Clouds
The Stars Seem So Much Brighter This Night
Orion's Belt Is Shinin'
The Big Dipper's Upside Down
Over Us It's Pourin' Out It's Light

You Slip Your Arms Around Me
Draw Me to Your Side
The Full Moon's Shinin' So Clear
Is That Music in the Distance?
For a Moment of Time
There Is Nowhere Else But Here

I Could Walk Across the Desert
Build My Own Oasis
Where the Palm Trees Shade Me From the Sun
I Could Swim Across the Ocean
Find a Desert Island
But Your Arms Would Always Draw Me Back Home

There Is Nowhere Else I'd Rather Be
Than in Your Heart
There Is Nowhere Else I Wanna Be
But in Your Eyes
In Your Arms

Hey na Na Hey na Na
There Is Nowhere Else I'd Rather Be
There Is Nowhere Else I Wanna Be

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Removal of Our Masks - by Gregg Gibbons

I recently read a wonderful article on masks that we wear and how God in His grace removes our masks so that we can finally be free to be ourselves before Him and others.  I especially loved how the article explains faith as the result of, not the cause of, Jesus' presence with us.  I love that!  

What a relief that I don't have to have some great faith to 'get' Him to come help me.  He is already here and makes His presence known, in all His love and power and acceptance, and that causes my faith to just leap up unconsciously and effortlessly!  This is so freeing for someone who has always felt she has 'weak faith'..  

What matters is not the strength of my faith but the presence of my Lord.  Yes!  He is here, and He can do anything, WILL do everything for me.  This brings sweet relief and rest to my soul.  It frees me and makes my masks (of trying to look like a good Christian or a faith-filled person) just fall away so I can just be myself - naked, humble, childlike, helpless yet LOVED and BEAUTIFUL, even HONORED and PRECIOUS in His sight!  So I can feel confident in His presence, confident that I'm welcomed, embraced and have Someone who will take care of all my needs, so I can bring any and all concerns before Him and know that He will handle them and be all I need for those situations.  

The author of the article, Gregg Gibbons, has graciously allowed me to post the article here.  You can find other grace writings by Gregg on his website, Christ My Heart.  Here is the article:

When I sensed God was calling me into discipleship ministry, it was out of a deep desire He gave me to simply be genuine in sharing His truths.
For you see, God had begun showing me masks I was hiding behind because I didn't know the truth of who He had made me to be in Christ.  And I came to realize that masks are heavy burdens to try to keep up for so long.
I hope this encourages you.  And I am delighted to share with you my first poem that I believe Christ wrote from my heart this past Saturday (see below). 

There are three Greek words in New Testament manuscripts that provide wonderful insights into the word genuine.
Anuopkritos means "without hypocrisy" or "without masks."  Romans 12:9 uses this word to describe a "genuine love" that is from God who is love.
Gnesios means "natural" or "legitimately born."  Philippians 2:20 uses this word to describe Timothy's "genuine concern" for the Philippians because it was a natural expression of his heart that had been legitimately born by the Spirit.  
Dokimos means "to be tested and proved to be true." This word is used in 1 Corinthians 11:19 to encourage the Corinthians that their faith will be proved genuine while the faith of factions among them would not.  

Being genuine means no masks for your words.  You are free to speak from your heart while speaking with love and wisdom.  You are free to grapple with finding the right words.  You are even free to be misunderstood.
Being genuine means no masks for your feelings as a way to cope with pain.  You are free to feel and heal in the presence of God.  Through the genuine life of Christ in you, you are free to pour out your feelings to God in your personal Gardens of Gethsemane.
Being genuine means no masks for your identity.  Receive God's words telling you who He has made you to be in Christ.  Apart from your personal embrace of these truths, you will be tempted to identify yourself with a Christianized version of a mask. You are free to receive biblical truths by faith even when feelings don't line up.

It is not our responsibility to remove our masks! This is such a wonderful revelation to me because I have tried so long and hard to be genuine!
Think about the blind men Jesus healed.  The faith of these men did not cause Jesus to come to heal them.  The presence of Christ led to their faith.  When they heard Jesus was in their presence, they cried out to him.  Jesus then healed them of their blindness.  Beautiful!
 This blindness is a picture of masks.  We cannot see truth with masks.  Masks represent lies.  However, whenever by God's grace we know the presence of Christ in us, we can call out to Him by faith, and He removes our masks!
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden (including being heavy-laden with masks), and I will give you rest (including taking away our masks).

Learning to rest in truth with you,
Gregg Gibbons

by Gregg Gibbons

Honestly, I didn't know it was a mask.
I really thought it was just me.
But the more I tried on other masks,
I began to ask, "How could this be?"

Then one day by God's grace,
He touched my eyes so I could see.
He showed me His Son's genuine face,
And it was then God began introducing me to me.

For you see only God knows who I really am.
He united me with His Son so true.
Now it's from His life I am what I am,
And I'm growing in Him forever new.

Oh I still cling to some masks of old,
And they feel more unfitting as the days go by.
But it's not up to me to release their hold,
I just look to my Lord who sees me eye to eye.

There's power in His eyes, His loving gaze upon me,
That nurtures my new heart with a hope so sure,
And removes my masks to reveal I am free
To relate to Him, a life real and pure.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Coming to Him Empty and Being Filled!

I was thinking today...what one word would I use to describe me?  And it is sad that the first word that came to mind was "failure".  (I guess that was the enemy lying to me??)

That is sad and I know it isn't how God sees me, I know He loves me as I am and delights in me as His child; I guess I just wish I were being more victorious as a Christian, victorious over some fears and doubts and struggles and such. 

But one good thing is that this feeling of inadequacy, even failure, reminds me that I of myself can do nothing!  It is all Him!  And that is a blessing to remember. 

To me, that means I don't have to have great faith in and of my power.  I don't have to overcome doubt or fear by myself.

He will do that in me.

I can only come to the throne of grace to find grace and help in our time of need.

I can only draw from Him. 

I love the idea of drawing from Him! 

I have to remember I am the branch, not the vine.

I am the vessel, not the wine.

I don't have any power of my own, I draw from and depend on Him for all!  He is teaching me this, so that is a big praise. 

Maybe out of seeing my own inability, I can see His ability shining forth more!

Maybe that is what it means, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness."

Looking to Him for sufficiency - that is the only place to find sufficiency, isn't it?  In the All-Sufficient One!

Coming to Him empty - that is the only way we really ever come, isn't it?  He doesn't expect us to fill ourselves with something we've manufactured.  He has no expectations of us!  HE is everything that we need and HE is the One who fills us!

That takes the pressure off.  I don't have to somehow BE the liquid of love or joy or peace or even faith that is pouring out.  I only have to look to Him and ask to be filled with Him, with His Spirit, who brings forth all those things naturally as the fruit of His just being there within!

We are empty pots, and He fills us with Himself, and we pour out to the world..

Friday, July 13, 2012

Joseph Prince on the Difference Between Law and Grace

This clip is so good!  Grace is so superior to Law in every way..

I have had a "demand" mentality, thinking God was demanding of me and feeling the weight of things being demanded of me, things I couldn't do.  That mentality made me feel hopeless and ashamed because I couldn't keep the demands and was bound to fail!

Yet Jesus in grace brings us to a "supply" mentality, and we can know that whatever each day holds, He will supply all we need and more in abundance, freely giving through His love!

I love the way Pastor Prince talks about the Abraham asked to sacrifice Isaac passage in this clip.  I love how he relates it to God's love for us!  We can KNOW He loves us, be sure of it - how?  Because He gave up His only Son FOR US!

I think the deepest cry of our hearts is to KNOW we are loved and cared for.  Our insecurities and past hurts and rejections can make it hard to really trust that someone loves us.  Sometimes we can feel unsure whether people really care about us or not, but when they make a sacrifice or show their commitment in action on our behalf, we can cross over to KNOWING they love us.  This happened to me recently.  I have a friend who is very outgoing and has many friends.  I couldn't understand why she would be friends with a little introverted nerdly type like me, and so many times I was insecure that she really wanted me for a friend.   Well, in the past few months I went through a difficult season.  I was hurting and struggling over a personal issue.  I thought noone knew I was hurting over this issue, but somehow my friend figured it out and worried about me.  She was concerned for me, but she never mentioned her worries because I was too upset to even talk about the issue.  Later she told me she worried and prayed for me about this problem every day for six months.  In the moment when she told me that, I really KNEW my friend loved me.  She cared enough to be concerned and pray for me every single day.  And that is just a small picture or analogy of the infinitely greater love of God for us!  When we see that from all eternity past, He has been concerned over us every single second of every single day, not really resting till He could solve our difficulty with sin, not really satisfied until He could have us reconciled to Him, willing and actually giving up His only Son to make that happen - we suddenly begin to KNOW He loves us!  

God is a giver, not a taker.  He is a supplier, not a demander.  He is not our enemy but our Friend.  He is not against us but for us!  He is the One we can be SURE will always love us with a love too great for us to ever comprehend fully!  We will never reach the end of that love, that supply, that grace that is found in Him!  He is our truest Friend for all eternity, and we can say with the scripture verse, "Now I KNOW that You love me, because You have not withheld Your Son, Your Only Son, from me!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Hope..

I have been learning about what hope is lately..

I don't think I ever understood it before, and I want to learn more and more what it means, for with God, there is so much hope.  I have been in seasons where I felt things were hopeless, felt nothing would ever change for the better, felt that even if I prayed, it wouldn't make any difference or help matters, felt truly despairing.

Yet, with the wonderful filling of the Holy Spirit, one of the wonderful things His presence brought was a sense of hope!  He started showing me that things are always hopeful with God - after all, He has already won the battle against Satan and evil and already reigns over all!  He laughs at the enemy's schemes.  Nothing is too hard for Him!  He is smiling because He knows that LOVE WINS!  And He is giving us the joy of living in that victory NOW, not just later in heaven.  

I love that!  I love the feeling of freedom and the feeling of having a God inside me who is WAY stronger than the enemy or any attack of the enemy!

I used to feel like a grasshopper under the enemy's foot...now God is showing me that the enemy is a grasshopper under Jesus' feet!  Haha!  And He has given us authority over the enemy, so we never have to be ruled by him in any way.  We are truly free.  I had listened to the enemy's lies so long and had gotten so depressed and hopeless.  Now God is showing me that I have a Big Brother, Jesus, always backing me up and the power of the resurrection always at work in me.  He can do far more than I can ask or imagine.  I want to know that truth and live in it more and more..all that gives me such hope!

Hope for a brighter tomorrow...hope that situations can change and get better..hope that God will bring me through in victory, no matter what..hope that the future will be good, not bad..hope that good things will come and that God will bless and bring me to new and happier places through His love...hope that He will continue to break off those lies that confuse me..hope that He will continue to free my heart to really soar and be carefree and unworried in Him..hope that I will grow and enjoy my relationship with God more and more!

Hope is not wishing something would change or get better.  Hope is expecting good things, because we KNOW good things are coming.  We don't just wish for them, God promised them!  

God keeps His promises, and He promised to deliver all who call on Him, to answer their every prayer, to work all things for good, to carry our burdens daily, to guard our going out and coming in, to bless the righteous, to surround us with favor, to never get angry with us or rebuke us, to never remember our sins, to uplift us when we fall, to always lead us in triumph, to comfort us with the comfort of Christ, to strengthen and establish us, to crush Satan underneath our feet, to complete the work He started in us, to stay with us, to keep us firm in the faith, to bring us safely to heaven and give us the full heavenly inheritance!  I could go on and on, but those are the promises I can think of right now..  

And hope is expecting all those things to happen, knowing they will!  Hope is the real expectation of His grace manifesting in blessing in my life!  It's the confident expectation of that, because it IS going to happen FOR SURE - for He who promised is FAITHFUL!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Have Found Our Hope, Peace, and Rest in the One Who Saves

I love this song!  I believe it's called "The One Who Saves" - it's by Hillsong...

We sang it at church recently and I started to choke up, thinking of God's love going on and on toward us forever, and how in Him, we have found the rest, peace and HOPE that we always longed for.

Without Him, I have no hope.  With Him, nothing is hopeless and there is always hope!  Things never have to stay the same rotten way they may be right now.  No barrier is too strong for God to break through.  No struggle is too hard for Him to overcome.  No night is too dark for His light to penetrate.  No mind is too confused for Him to bring understanding with His truth.  No one is too far gone for Jesus to rescue!  There is always hope in grace!

Without Him, I have no rest for my soul.  With Him, there is rest.  There is relief.  There is a sense of being able to stop striving and worrying and fretting, like a release of burdens and pressures to perform, to measure up, to handle all my problems myself.  I am loved as I am, cared for as I am, protected and helped and uplifted as I am.  What a relief to fall into His arms, safe and secure!  That means I don't have to "try" or "strive" - my job is to REST in the arms that won't ever let me go..

Without Him, I have no peace.  With Him, I am filled with the peace that goes beyond all understanding, because I know that my life is SAFE in the hands of Perfect Love, and His love endures forever..

His love endures forever, never running out or giving up on us, never fading or changing, never stopping no matter what the circumstance, no matter what my performance!  His love motivates and moves Him to act with compassion and bless and favor us at all times.  His love motivates and moves Him to uphold us and care for us and take care of all our issues and problems and situations - He takes up our case and takes care of all that concerns us..

He won't let us down - this gives me a sense of rest and relief and peace!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Putting Your Hands in God's Hands....Safe, Not Scary!

I am thanking God for peace today, feeling like a little child looking up into His face, just waiting on Him today for Him to love on me and share His Word with me, realizing what a good thing it is to be in His hand..

You know, Satan always made me think it was scary to "put your life in God's hands", as if He would then do some terrible thing to me like put me in a car accident to teach me a lesson or make me go preach in the faraway jungle with no proper restroom for miles around..so I always felt that to put my life in God's hands would be miserable or frightening.

But really, putting our life in God's hands means it is finally safe! 

We are finally delivered from Satan's harm!  Delivered from bondage!

We are finally cared for the way we've always wanted to be!  We are taken care of and held and loved and cherished and have the love we've looked for all our lives! 

We're not on our own to face the trials of life here on earth, not alone against Satan's attacks!  We have the Almighty God there to fight for us - He always has our back!

Now we are protected and helped, blessed and given all we need, strength, peace, joy, direction, power, clarity..wow! 

Putting one's life in God's hands is not a scary thing but a happy and safe thing..because God, being Pure Love, 100% Love, will never hurt, harm or bruise my heart. 

He knows all the wounded places and is here to bind up and heal, not wound and tear apart. 

He'll be understanding and patient with me, never get exasperated with my confusion or failings, even when I make the same mistake over and over! 

He will always handle me gently. 

He is so good and never to be feared.  For so long I feared Him.  Now I am learning more and more to trust.  Every new experience is a chance for me to experience  Him demolishing another fear and freeing my soul in another way to really see and receive His love and help!
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