Wednesday, April 30, 2014

As the Waters Cover the Sea

 Childhood Memory

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 

Hab. 2:14

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 17 - It's Personal: God's Love Embraces Each Individual

That I could personally be the focus of God’s love, and that He desires the same kind of intimate relationship with me that He has with His Son Jesus – this baffles me and overwhelms my mind! I really can’t take it in or grasp it. This is something I have struggled with all my life – to believe God loves me and is personally intimately with me, that He is not scary/fearful or distant from me.

Jesus came to show us God's tender heart for us so that we wouldn't be afraid.  He came so we would be at ease with Him, comfortable enough to call Him 'Daddy.'  His love pushes out fear. This is my hope, because I have a lot of fear buildup from the past, from lies and hurts. I have always struggled with being so afraid of God. My image of Him has been so warped by religion, lies and my own thoughts and feelings. It has been so hard to see Him as loving and safe.  Many times when I tried to picture or think of God, I would get an image in my mind of a face darkened or hidden, of someone withdrawing from me or aloof from me, and I would feel this person to be distant, disappointed, a little cold, even demanding.  I would say God loved me and I would sometimes feel such love and grace, would sometimes feel that He was smiling and kind, yet at other times have the fearful and dark image come to mind. So I have lived in fear of God, struggling with being able to approach Him without hesitation, struggling with feeling comfortable and safe in His presence.

One night I asked God to give me a dream of heaven. That night I did dream of heaven, dreamed I was standing with Jesus behind my own little house – a sort of English cottage, complete with a little hedged in garden. We were planning the garden together, and He was telling me I could have anything I wanted in this garden. It was so happy and peaceful with Him right there beside me in this beautiful place. And the main feeling I remember having was one of complete safety – that there was nothing to fear, nothing could get to me or harm me! It is interesting to me that the main thing I felt in heaven was safety and freedom from fear!
Perfect Love casts out fear. I feel that is what He is doing in my life right now. Through this class and other readings and such, He is healing my image of Him. More and more I am able to picture Him as loving, inviting, smiling and brightly shining. I am able to picture Him in a way that is open, friendly, kind and – especially – safe!

God has brought us into the fellowship of Christ – the fellowship He has with the Son. He wants me to experience the same intimacy and belonging and security that Jesus Himself experiences in the presence of His Papa. He tells me that this same relationship of love and safety is also mine! Jesus is never afraid of His Father. He never feels a barrier between them. He never feels His Father is angry with Him or disappointed with Him. He never feels His Father is pulling away from Him or hiding His face from Him. There is never anything amiss in that relationship! There is never anything to fear in that relationship! Nothing can go wrong in or spoil that relationship! Nothing can get in between that love flow or stop it. In His relationship with the Father, there is complete safety and security – Jesus knows He is always loved, always delighted in, always approved of, always treated the best way possible, always SAFE! And that is the relationship I am a part of through Christ!

I really want to know and enjoy such a relationship with God as Jesus has, and God shows me I already have it, it is already mine! The old fears tug at me, yet the new freedom of love woos me forward into joy and happy fellowship with my Papa! Even though I have a lot of unlearning and healing that is needed to really see and experience this relationship of safety and love with my Papa, I am more hopeful now than I have been in a long while! He is convincing me steadily and surely that I have nothing to fear with Him, that He really does love and hold me, that I really have a perfect and intimate loving union with Him, that I really am safe in His arms! As Jesus is to the Father, so am I – valued, held, loved, enjoyed, SAFE! Oh, Lord, make me to see and experience this reality that is truly my reality!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

His Resurrection Was Our Resurrection!

Happy Resurrection Day!  Here is another wonderful post from facebook, by Christian Erickson, on the resurrection and what it means for all of us: 


"The good news of Christ's resurrection that you probably won't hear today at Church:

When He became man, He became all men.

When He died, we died.

When He rose, all humanity rose with Him in newness of life.

Jesus didn't just die and resurrect to show off. He died and was resurrected to rebirth humanity in His life! We had become so corrupted with sin and death that humanity was heading towards what the early church called "nonbeing." When we say that Christ saved the world, we really mean it. It was the belief of the early Christians that if Christ hadn't of come, humanity would have eventually destroyed itself and would have become nothing.

But Jesus came! And He rose!

At His resurrection, according to Athanasius:

“All people were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of humanity is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.”

You see, when we celebrate resurrection Sunday, we aren't just celebrating Jesus' resurrection, we are celebrating ours too! We are celebrating the birth of a whole new creation!

The old creation was ruled by sin because of the fall of Adam. But Jesus came as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), the last of the Adamic race, mystically crucified humanity with Him on the cross, forever ending the old creation defined by Adams fall and by death (2 Cor. 5:14). Then when Jesus was resurrected, a whole new creation was birthed, a whole new race of people began (Hosea 6:2). We are in a whole new world!

Death no longer has the final say on humanity because Christ defeated and destroyed it through His resurrection life!

Today isn't just Jesus' resurrection. Let's not forget why He did it. Today is humanities birthday! All humanity was born again through His resurrection!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." - 1 Peter 1:3

"All that is in The Messiah [all humanity] is therefore The New Creation; the old order has passed away to such." - 2 Corinthians 5:17

"We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." - Romans 6:9-11

"Just as by a man death came, in this way also by a man the dead come to life. For just as by Adam all people die, in this way also by The Messiah they all live." - 1 Corinthians 5:21-22

Happy birthday humanity! He is risen!!!"


Christian Erickson

Friday, April 18, 2014

What the Cross Proves to Us

I would like to share a post I read on facebook by Christian Erickson..it's such a wonderful and meaningful description of what God did in Christ on the cross, and of what God proved to us through that cross!  Thank You Father for Your amazing love!

"Today we celebrate that almost two thousand years ago, God Himself proved that He would rather be killed than kill.

He would rather be put on a cross and murdered by His own creation than hold our sins against us. We killed God! And yet, in the greatest display of divine love the world has ever seen, God looked down on His creation stuck in darkness and spoke forgiveness to us through the blood flowing from His broken body.

When humanity committed the worst sin possible (the killing of our creator), God looked down and forgave us. How much more does He forgive us of everything else?

The cross proves that God is dying for us to know that we are accepted. The cross proves that God bleeds forgiveness and love. The cross proves that He never is going to turn His back on us no matter how much we turn our back on Him.

Truly, God was in Christ reconciling the whole cosmos to Himself, not counting our sins against us."


Christian Erickson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 16 - It's Universal: God's Love Includes All People

Though what happened to Adam had a negative effect on all humanity, what happened with Christ has a much greater positive effect on all humanity!

Adam believed a lie and became subject to sin, fear and death.
Christ believed the truth for us and freed us who had all our lives been subject to bondage through fear of death!

Through Adam came sin and fear and death.
Through Jesus came grace and truth, and He brought life and immortality to light through the good news of grace (God’s attitude of peace and goodwill toward man).

Adam’s heart was darkened when he believed lies, and these lies trapped and bound him.
Jesus came announcing freedom to the captives and sight to the blind (both spiritually and physically).

Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and became bound in a system of performance and works, thinking he needed to do good to earn God’s favor and that anything less would bring God’s vengeance and curse.
Jesus was and is the tree of life, and He freed us from the law system, showing us God’s way has always been unconditional love and freely given grace (acceptance), and that nothing we do or don’t do could ever change His heart toward us!

Adam’s sin made him feel alienated in his mind from God, and he couldn’t see who God really was – it was like a veil was over his mind, a veil of religious thinking, and he couldn’t see the glory of God within him, couldn’t know who God really was.
Jesus’ righteous act freed our minds, for He redeemed us – He came and claimed what was His own, what He had prior claim to, us! He showed us the glory of God in His own face, that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father – He revealed God as Father!

Adam’s sin deadened or dulled him in some ways from sensing the Spirit’s work in his life, even though the Spirit was always present.
Jesus activated the Spirit’s presence in us in a new way, sending the Spirit into our hearts to assure us of God’s love for us, to echo within us that we truly are God’s children, and heirs!

Adam was of the earth, earthly, and the lies of the enemy made him feel that was all he was at all, someone from below.
Christ was of heaven, heavenly, and He showed us the truth that we are made of God-substance, a part of us is eternal – that we are also from above!

Through one man’s disobedience, sin entered the world, and death through sin.
Through one man’s obedience, there came justification (proving our innocence and likeness to God) and life!

In Adam, all died.
In Christ, all are made alive – we have been raised with Christ and seated in heavenly places with Him!

Because of Adam’s believing a lie, sin ruled in many ways.
Now because of Christ’s believing the truth, grace rules and has the final say!

Because of Adam’s sin, death reigned.
Christ came saying ‘Your God reigns!’ And He has the keys of death and the grave! We reign in eternal life with Him! Life wins, Life reigns!

Because of Adam, everyone forgot their origin in God and their family name.
Because of Christ, all the families of the earth will remember! The sleepers will awaken to God’s glory shining on them! And everyone will turn to the Lord and worship (from Ps. 22).

Because of Adam, everyone feels left out.
Christ shows us noone is left out, all are reconciled! Christ shows us in His forgiving attitude that God is not counting our sins against us, that God’s favor and goodwill is toward all mankind, all are revealed to be included – in!

Because of Adam, all have made themselves into sons of disobedience, though they are truly still God’s own created children.
Because of Christ, God has brought back and redeemed (rescued us from vain thinking) what is His own – His children!

Because of Adam, all were dead in sins (unresponsive to relationship with God). We were made for relationship with Him and we were hurting because we were missing out on enjoying that relationship our hearts longed for, being bound by lies about God and thus afraid to interact with Him, thinking He was mean or distant or demanding.
Yet Christ brought life to the dead and restored the fellowship we were missing, opening our eyes to the fact that God was never against us, He was always right there with us, open and friendly and ready to interact with us. He showed us that God was not scary or distant but safe and embracing us, and we were able to relax and enjoy real intimacy with our Papa!

Adam’s sin affected humanity, because all were from Adam, and we were all ‘lost.’
But Christ’s work affected humanity more, because before we were from Adam, we were formed and found in Christ, chosen in Him and dearly loved as God’s own children, before the world began! We were all found before we were ever lost! God’s prior reference and claim upon us was safely preserved in Christ and we are found in Him, no matter what happened here on this earthly timeline!

Though sin is shown to be great, God’s grace is always shown to be greater still!
Oh, the depth of the riches of God’s foreknowledge and plan!
It saves us all, includes us all, rescues and forgives and frees us all!
As my old pastor used to say, “All means all, and that’s all all means!”
God has consigned all under ‘disobedience’ that He might have mercy on ALL!
ALL humanity was included in His life, death, resurrection and ascension!

Though all creation was subject to futility, corruption and frustration, ALL creation will be freed into life and expansiveness and joy!
Though all became disjointed because of Adam, because of Christ ALL things will be summed up in Him, restored and set right through Christ – there will be the ‘restoration of ALL things’ (Acts 3).
And God will be ALL, and IN ALL!
Hallelujah!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fields of Grace

 Child In The Meadow

We are His dear little children, walking with our Papa in fields of grace!

"Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care."    Eph. 1:3-4  PHP

"We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise."    Rom. 5:2  MSG

"He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved - surprised to be loved!"  Ps. 18:19  MSG

"Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play."  Ps. 63:7 MSG

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Innocent Little Children


Little Boy Running We are such sweet little innocent children, living constantly in our Papa's tender care!  He sings over us constantly, is so delighted in us, we can do no wrong in His eyes!  He is so proud of us, and it shows in His beaming face, His smile that's always upon us, the way He brags on us to the whole creation!  And we've always been this way to Him, always been His little innocent ones...

We called ourselves ugly and unworthy, but our Papa never did!  We called ourselves rejected and shameful, but our Papa never did!  We called ourselves evil and sinful but our Papa never did! 

To Him, we have always been His good little innocent children, His beauties, His cherished ones, the apple of His eye, His pride and joy! 

We mess up but He says, "They don't know what they are doing, they are infected with a lie that distorts their perception!" This infection with a lie, this wrong belief, doesn't bring forth His wrath but instead brings forth His compassion!

The things we do wrong are cries for help from a trapped soul! He sees us as wounded little ones needing love, not as rebels or sinners needing condemnation and punishment!  Oh what a relief that He always sees me as His little innocent beauty, His cherished little baby who can do no wrong in His eyes! He knows our heart is good, He made us that way, we have His very nature, which is so pure and sweet and good - it's pure love!!

He knows we mean well, we just get confused when we think He doesn't love us..He knows we've been lied to, deceived, tricked, trapped in a false perception , thinking He's against us..He knows we've pulled back from Him in fear and thus aren't experiencing the love that we were meant to enjoy, and He knows without that love we feel empty and in pain and seek wrong ways to deal with that pain and to try to feel okay with ourselves.

He doesn't ever yell, rant or rave at us.  He doesn't ever harm or hurt us, doesn't ever lash out at us or punish us.  His way is healing and restoration, not punishment and furor!  He doesn't want to pull us down, shame us, or wound our hearts.  He mends our broken hearts and massages them with the love we need so desperately.  He knows we need love, not judgment!  


We need His love like we need air!!   His soothing presence is pure LOVE and makes the hurt go away, fills the deep need for acceptance and belonging, frees us to look into His face and realize we are safe in His arms and special to Him, makes us see we are His little innocent ones and have been all along!  And we blossom and bloom in the atmosphere of His grace and delight over us, as we hear the song He has always sung over us with joy, the love song of the ages, "I've always loved you and always will!  You are My beloved child, My innocent one in My image and likeness, in whom I am well-pleased!"

Papa understands! He says everything is okay, I love you, you are mine, you are wanted, I am for you and never against you, never left you, am always here for you..Daddy's got you, you are safe, you are loved, you are home!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 15 - God's Permanent Commitment to Us in Christ

Religion makes us feel separated from God, on our own, an independent ‘self’ that must do all the right things in order to get ‘closer’ to God..union with God is seen in religion as the goal to strive and strain toward..yet within religion this union is an unattainable goal since noone can meet the supposed ‘requirement’ of perfection in conduct, words and belief. Religion tells us we must be perfect in order to be close to God, acceptable to God. But grace, the good news of Jesus, turns religion on its head! Grace says we already ARE in union with God and that we can’t get AWAY from Him! Our minds may be confused, we may be living as if separated and feeling so alone, yet this is just a lie – we are always with Him and He with us, and that has always been true! We were made of His very substance, His very DNA and divine being, so that we can truly say He is in us as the most real, basic, fundamental part of who we are. And our spirit is of His Spirit, thus we are always connected with Him spiritually. Also, since He fills the whole universe and holds all creation in His hand, we exist in His Presence at all times and there is no part of this whole creation that is outside or truly ‘separated’ from Him!

Yet religion, with knowledge of good and evil, its requirements and obligations, its system of performance-based acceptance, of ‘you must earn blessings by good works’ and ‘you are cursed for your bad works’, only makes us feel separated and hopeless to ever have union with God. Because of religion we think we don’t have what we have – union – and thus we can’t enjoy this union we have! We pull back from God mentally and emotionally and feel awkward about opening up to Him. We don’t really enjoy real relationship, openness or fellowship because of fear – fear that God is a fair-weather friend who will only be there for us if we behave right, who will desert us or reject us if we fail, fear that He is only nice to us (blessing us) when we behave, and that He’ll turn on us in anger and punishment if we mess up (cursing us). Who can feel close to a god like that? Religion’s god is unapproachable and union relationship with him is unattainable – so religion is a game that is unwinnable!! Yet if religion is a game that is unwinnable, grace is a real love commitment that is unlosable!! For He has permanently shown His commitment to love and be with us forever in Jesus’ incarnation!

Jesus came and tied us to God permanently (I believe we were already tied together and in union in our spirits and now we are tied together even more strongly in human flesh – at least that is the way I understand it right now). Jesus is God and He is man. He is God and man in one body! Jesus shows us what we humans are, that we are in union with God, God compatible – not separate from God but made of Him and existing in Him and even indwelt by and in union with Him! He shows us we aren’t hopelessly alienated from God – that is only in our minds, heaped upon us as we try to live under religion’s demands and perspective. We are actually one with God and He with us! Union with God isn’t an unattainable goal but the starting point of our journey from which we launch out into real life and the pleasure of enjoying friendship with our Father! Our reference turns out, not to be Adam (who felt he was ‘just flesh and dust’, which left him feeling separate from God), but to be Christ (who knew He was in the Father and the Father was in Him)!
Finding out that this is our reference helps us realize that we can actually have a real relationship with our Father and not feel like pulling back in shame or in fear of what He might do to us. For Jesus comes and gives us a different and true picture of the real God! This God is for us and will never leave us, no matter what we do! This God is so committed to relationship with us that He took on our human flesh form, permanently tying Himself to our humanity. 

He is the mediator of a new covenant between God and man by being both parties in the covenant at the same time, joining us together in such a deep way in human flesh and cementing our union forever in His body! In Jesus, we (God and people) meet and join hands in intimate relationship! God is saying to us through Jesus, “I’m here with you, always have been and always will be. I am not going anywhere. I am never getting out of this relationship. I am never pushing you away or rejecting you. For I have tied us together forever and there is nothing you could say, think, do or even believe that will break this union we have! I will never leave you or let you go! I will be here for you through thick and thin. You can’t shake me! You can’t get rid of Me! I am in this relationship for keeps, and I will hold you close to My heart forever!”  As Robert Capon says, "You can't get away from a love that will not let you go!" 

I love thinking of how committed God is to us, so committed that He would become a man and stay that way forever – a permanent commtment to be in union relationship with us, tying us to Him and Him to us forever in such a way that we can never be apart, so that everything that happens to Him happens to us, so that wherever He is there we are also in glory, so that we are hidden forever with Christ in God, so that He is with us always even to the end of the age, so that nothing can ever take us out of Him, nothing can ever come between us, nothing can ever ruin our relationship, nothing can ever separate us from Him or His love!! Cemented together forever!   As Kristian Holmes, a facebook friend and mentor, says, God's favorite word is IN!

I have so much to learn and grasp, but isn’t it so wonderful to meet Mr. Grace?! Almost too good to be true, that He would love us and bind Himself to us in such a way, and yet, it is true! It makes me think of the verse in Hos 2 I believe it is, in the Message Bible – “I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and faithfulness, I’ll neither leave you nor let you go.” THAT’S faithful love! THAT’s security! THAT’s grace, THAT’S the real God I’m starting to come to know! 

He told me recently in a dream, that basically, “You haven’t really known Me yet..” and I was excited to think He is more wonderful than I have ever believed, known or dreamed! Can’t wait to get to know Him in an ever deepening way…I’ve spent my whole life being afraid of Him, thinking I was shameful and a disappointment to Him..just as many people have probably felt..but how wonderful to find out more and more how accepting and loving He is! And there is infinitely more to encounter in Him, for He is infinitely more loving than we could possibly imagine! Wow!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We Are in a Wide Open Space

 Mary-Anne Rabe sings a wonderful song called "Wide Open Space" about standing in God's embrace, with 'nothing between us but love and freedom' - !  This song has been going through my mind and heart during my waking hours lately, and what a beautiful message it shares! 

How wonderful to be at this place of oneness with our Maker, to be IN Him who is ALL - all love, all beauty, all peace, all joy, all embracing - and to simply BE in His arms.  Nothing required of us, nothing demanded of us, nothing expected of us..we can simply relax there in His embrace.  Nothing to do, nowhere to get to, nothing to attain, nothing to become, for we are already in a place of wholeness, perfection, harmony, completeness, and delight.  We are in a place of unconditional love and total acceptance, and we have never been out of that place, which is His very heart!!

We find ourselves where we always dreamed of being, safe in His arms of love for all eternity, cherished, valued, cared for, celebrated!  He has always seen us as His delightful and very good children, innocent and lovely.  And we find we have been there all along, for He never let us go, He never abandoned us, He was never apart from us..we have always been His own dear children, covered in His love, gazed upon with tender affection and friendliness.  We have never been alone, for He has always been here, always been our friend that sticks closer than a brother, always supported us, always believed in us, always carried us.   He has always loved us and always will..He has always been for us and always will be...He has always been our Papa and always will be!

What a wonderful place to be, in His heart, in His love, in His presence, in His tender gaze, in His arms..what a wonderful place of stillness and joy it is...a place of rest and pure satisfaction..a place of sweetness and delight...a place of expansion and freedom...a place of childlike wonder and awe, as we gaze on the face of Him who loves us so, who is PURE LOVE and nothing else!  Thank You, Papa, for this union relationship we share with You, this oneness and communion!  This LOVE that is better than life, this ACCEPTANCE that fulfills our deepest longings, this PRESENCE that is so gentle, so tender, so invigorating and happy!  What a wide open space is Your heart of grace and love for us all!

(You can listen to this song by using the player on the side of my blog, Wide Open Space is in the playlist from the album, No Distance...)

"Wide Open Space"
by Mary-Anne Rabe

Justified by Your faith
I'm at peace
Reconciled to You
You've done everything
Nothing left to add
You gave Yourself
And now I give myself to Your love

Chorus:
Here I stand in this wide open space
In this wonder of Your embrace
Spotless and clean,
There is nothing between us but
Love and freedom

Here I will abide, face to face with You
Here I am alive, face to face with You

Beholding You, I've found grace
The reflection I see
Awakens in me, who I am
My true identity, revealed in You
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