Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carried Along In His River of Grace And Love!

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

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

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

Richard Rohr

A Wonderful Email Conversation

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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