God's Sovereignty?

"Sovereignty" is a word that has sounded scary to me in the past.  The word can make me think false ideas of a cold, mean God moving us around like pawns in His cosmic chess match with Satan or "using" us for His own ends with no regard to us.  It also has brought to my mind the idea of God bringing tragedy on us to punish, teach us a lesson, or just implement "His plan" without any concern for us, since His plan (making Himself look good and whipping Satan) is all that matters, not our welfare. Such thoughts have not produced the most pleasant of feelings for me!

Sovereignty can be seen in a much better way, a grace way, I think!  I read some in a book by Steve McVey (called Walking in the Will of God) about this subject, and it helped me to see sovereignty in a better way.  I now like to see God's sovereignty or ultimate control like a safety net under us that won't let us fall out of His good plan for us, a plan to give us a future and a hope.  The important thing for me is to remember God's true nature - love and goodness!  Since He's good, loving and kind, "sovereignty" can be a comfort and not an anxiety for me.  To me it means that God is bigger than all my failures and bigger than any problem that may come my way.  I believe that nothing bad that happens to me and nothing bad that's done by me can stop His good plan in my life.  He is big enough and loving enough to make everything okay!

Love doesn't think of itself and it's own good but of others.  God is working things out for OUR good!  He's not implementing some selfish "plan" at our expense.  The "plan" is loving us!  It's showing grace and love to us for all eternity!  He saved us to be kind to us forever!  (Eph. 2:7)  The Plan is bringing many sons and daughters to glory through Jesus Christ.  That's the big and overarching plan that our sovereign God will accomplish - He will sum everything up in Christ to the praise of His glorious GRACE, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved!  (Eph. 1:6, 10-11)  We'll be part of the love union of the Trinity forever, and circumstances, Satan and even our own failures aren't big enough to mess that up! 

                    With love from

He Gives Himself

It's wonderful to be in Him.  It's wonderful to know His strength inside, and His joy, and His peace.  I think lately He has been showing me that those aren't things, they are really HIM who is strength and joy and peace!   We are united with the very Spirit of Christ in our spirit.  And the Spirit of Christ is peaceful in us.  He is joyful in us.  He is strong in us. 

Everything we need is a Person!  He IS loving and good and powerful in us!  So if we love somebody, isn't that Him loving them through us?  Isn't that Him pouring out and touching their lives?  Yes!  He doesn't give things, He gives Himself.  And wrapped up in Him, the gift of His Spirit to be within us, is everything we need for life and godliness, every bit of acceptance and love we crave, every spiritual gift, every victory!  

                        With love,

It's Gonna Be a Bright Sunshiny Day

God in His grace has a way of clearing the air, doesn't He?  We learn that all we ever wanted and hoped and often worked for is ours for FREE through Christ's perfect work.  We realize we now have the love and acceptance and freedom and life we've been searching for all our lives.  We find ourselves under the blue sky of God's presence and love!  I think He loves waking us up to what we already have in Christ.  I think He loves seeing us open our eyes to the bright sunshine, realizing we're not in the dark anymore ever again!  I think He loves breaking away every lie to show us we now have God's very Life inside, which automatically trumps every sin, problem, fear, and evil.  We are IN Life and we're never going out!  He has made it an eternal sunshiny day for us in the spiritual realm, where we are seated with Him in the heavenly places!

"With God on our side like this, how can we lose?" (Rom. 8:31 MSG)

                              With love,


We Have An Infinite Supply

I copied this quote into my notebook a couple of years ago, and it just came to me recently as God was teaching me about His immensity.  (I have written in my notebook that the quote is by Malcolm Smith, but I couldn't locate the place on the internet where I copied it.  It may not be word for word correct.)

"We have an infinite supply.  Because we're in union with Jesus, because He is in us (Someone Infinite), we have an infinite supply.  It never gives out, burns out, runs out, or wears out.  Jesus has infinite love, strength, endurance, patience, kindness, courage, hope and joy.  We live in infinite supply.  Satan isn't just defeated.  He is dwarfed.  He becomes a speck, totally overwhelmed by the Infinite One and His Infinite Power and Love and Wisdom.  We have an infinite supply!"

                                                                     Malcolm Smith

With such a big God dwelling inside, living in us and as us, every problem is just an opportunity to see Him demonstrate His power and grace.  Every lie Satan throws our way is just another opportunity for Him to trump all lies with truth and make us aware of our freedom.  We need not fear anything, since we have the Infinite One who has already defeated all evil within us!  Won't He surely show that victory?  Won't He surely live for us and triumph?  Won't He surely be our peace?  Won't He surely keep us?  He surely will..

                      With love to all,

We've Got It So Good In Christ

I have spent so much of my Christian life feeling lacking, feeling not good enough, feeling a need to do something more to finally be "ok" with God.  But the truth is that from the moment one believes in Christ, we are "ok" with God.  Christ is the One who has already done all that needs to be done to make us okay with Him.  We've got it SOOO GOOD in Christ!  I got to thinking about it:

How much more righteous can one be than to have the righteousness of Christ within as their righteousness?

How much closer can one be to God than to be IN Him and Him IN you, so that you two are ONE?

How much more accepted can you be than to be made a part of God's own family and revealed to be Christ's own Bride?

How much more loved can you be than to Have Him who is God Incarnate actually give His life blood for YOU?

How much more complete can you be than to have the One who is completely GOD within you?

How much more secure can one be than to know that the only thing that could ever separate us from Him - sin - has been taken away for good by the Cross?

How much more alive can you be than to have Him who IS Life, and Eternal Life at that, as your very own life!

Wow, we've got it good in Christ!  We have no lack of ANY good thing!  "With God on our side like this, how can we lose?"

                  With love to all,

The Wonderful Holy Spirit

Lately I've been getting to know the Holy Spirit better through His work in my life.  I have always known something about Him since becoming a Christian and experiencing a big life change when I first accepted Christ.  But I am learning so many new things about this sometimes ignored third Person of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Grace and the New Covenant of grace is called the Ministry of the Spirit (2 Co. 3:7-9).  There are so many ways He ministers the love and grace of God to us in this New Covenant.  Here are a few He has shown me:

He enters us at salvation, regenerates us (Tit. 3:5) and makes us new creations; we are washed, sanctified, and justified by the Spirit in Christ's name (1 Co.6:11).

The Spirit is Life within us!  He now sustains us in spiritual life, since He has joined Himself to our spirit forever; we now "live by the Spirit"  (Gal. 5:25).

He pours out the love of God in our hearts, ministers the love of God to us and He IS that love in us and through us (Rom. 5:5).

He is God's Life in us He and keeps us by the law of the Spirit, for because He is in us we're set free from the law of sin and death and are fully and eternally alive in Christ, kept forever by Him (Rom 8:2).  

He assures us of our salvation and encourages us that we are God's own, sealing us for the day of our bodily redemption; He is God's guarantee that we'll receive that promised inheritance (Eph. 1:13-4)!

He convinces us of our righteousness before God and assures us that we are His children by crying "Abba, Father" from within us (Rom. 8:15-6).

He shows us the things freely given us by God through the finished work of Christ, such as acceptance, righteousness, sanctification, fellowship, spiritual gifts, union, and Life (1 Co. 2:12).

He testifies of Christ and guides us into all truth (John 14:26), whether about salvation, grace, God's character, Christ's work, the truth about our identity in Christ, or a refutation of any lie Satan tries to feed us.

He has joined Himself to our spirit and in that secret place we are in perfect union and fellowship with God Himself by His Spirit being one with ours (1 Co. 6:17)!

He indwells us (1 Co. 3:16), fills us (Eph. 5:18) and manifests His presence in us, staying with us always and living in us as our constant companion and Friend (John 14:16-7).

He comforts and consoles us, always there to aid and encourage us and spur us on, alleviating our grief and giving us hope to face tomorrow (Acts 9:13)!

He leads us and gives us godly desires and motivations, even teaching us what to say in various situations (Rom. 8:14).

He fights evil thoughts and fears that may come, rising up within us to remind us of truth and bring us back to peacefulness, for He is love, power and a sound mind within us (2 Tim. 1:7)!

He intercedes for us, which is so comforting because so often we don't know what or how to pray (Rom. 8:26).

He animates our actions, flowing through and bearing fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-3); we are victorious over sin by His power (Rom. 8:2).

He empowers us, for He is the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, and He lives in us with that same resurrection power (Rom. 8:10-11)!

He gives us gifts to encourage other believers and minister to people, and He flows out of us as a river of living water for others to drink (1 Co. 12:7, John 7:37-9).

Wow, there are so many wonderful things the Holy Spirit has done and is doing!  He is the minister of the New Covenant, where Christ actually lives in and through us by the Holy Spirit - He lives His life in us and that Life rises up and overflows in and through us.  I'm really enjoying learning about the beautiful Holy Spirit who has ministered God's grace and love to us in so many ways!

                 With love to all,

It's All By Grace

Every single thing that God does in our lives is by grace.  Salvation is by grace.  It's a completely free gift of God that is given to us, and we simply receive this gift by faith.  It's the same with every single thing He teaches us, every single way we are helped by Him, every single time He brings us through a crisis or gives us a new understanding or experience of Him and His love.  Every single thing that happens in our Christian life is a gift of grace.  We don't earn growth, knowledge, deliverance, healing, experiences with God, revelation, or change.  Every one of those things is a grace gift.  They're all wrapped up in the gift of Himself that He has freely given us.  We only see that those things are ours and unwrap and enjoy them.  And we can enjoy them forever, because a gift given for free, without our having to "earn" it, cannot ever be lost!  Every gift He gives is ours for free and ours for ever...by grace.

I just learned this in a big way.  Recently God brought me through a very difficult time.  I still can't believe I came out of this difficulty.  God gave me emotional healing from this difficult time as well as a fresh experience of His Spirit, and it was a complete grace gift.  He did it.  He is amazing and I give Him glory and honor and praise!   Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful grace in freely giving so much to us!  You invite us to come and drink freely of Your water of life!  Thank You so much for every gift You give, especially the gift of Your Life in us by Your Spirit!

                      With love to all,

He Doesn't See Our Sin..

When God looks at us, does He see that sin that we just committed?  Does He see how we just blew it?  I don't think so.  Jesus took away our sins and gave us His righteousness.  Thus, God doesn't see any sin in us but instead sees the perfect righteousness of His Son in us at all times.  Christ presents us to God as His spotless Bride, blameless and without fault!

It's pretty incredible that God doesn't see my sin, especially after a big "flesh-out."  Yet that is what the cross is all about, so I just seek to wrap my puny mind around it!  The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world and canceled the writing that was against us (the law that was saying what commands we'd broken, condemning us).  He forgave us ALL our sins, it says in Col. 2 - ALL our sins, past, present and future were put onto Christ and forgiven, for God was in Christ, reconciling (restoring to favor) the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them. That's forgiveness, to me - you don't hold or count the person's wrong against them, they are not in debt to you, they are released or remitted.  By the shedding of His blood, our sins have been remitted.
I heard one grace preacher, Rob Rufus, say that when he sins, he says something like, "God I thank You that Christ already took that sin away and I thank You that I am still the righteousness of God in Christ and still in Your favor."  Even after we've just sinned, we're still the righteousness of God and still in fellowship with Him.  The wages of sin is death, and Jesus already took our death, so now we have eternal unbroken fellowship with God.   Yes!   Our fellowship with God is based on Christ's performance on the cross to forgive us and set us right with God, and that doesn't depend on our changing behavior.  It depends on Christ alone, and can only be altered if Christ Himself were to sin - NOT going to happen!  
The good news of the gospel means that we are always right with God with HIS very righteousness, no matter whether we sin today or don't.  Our behavior doesn't change it!   So I guess that means when I sin, it changes NOTHING in my relationship with God..whew, I really want to believe that and struggle to believe it when I've just bombed, but it's the gospel truth!  HE became sin, and we became the righteousness of God in Him.  Sin is gone, dead and buried, and His righteousness is here to stay in us.   We lost the sin and gained the righteousness (being right with God, in acceptable relationship with Him).  God is finished dealing with our sin problem; sin isn't on His mind, Jesus is, and us in Him.  Even the sin we commit tomorrow is already gone in God's eyes, because He already took care of it outside of time on the cross.  By one sacrifice Jesus perfected us for all time, forever.  I may feel dirty and stained when I sin, but God says I'm clean and spotless!  Righteous and a saint!  Pure and holy!  For that is what He made me - the new creation was created in righteousness and true holiness.  And that's what we are!  Oh yes, the good news is that good!  
I love the gospel and I love Jesus who took my sin!  He is sin-free and perfect, and as He is, so are we in this world!  So we are sin-free and perfect before God too!  I guess if we want to confess something after we sin, we can confess that we are the righteousness of God in Christ all the time!  Hallelujah!

                   With love from

It's All About the Giver

I love this old worship song, "I Bow My Knee," here sung by Ron Kenoly.  It has a wonderful line in it that makes me think:  "I seek the Giver, not the gift.."  The main thing, the most important thing, is not any gift but the Giver Himself.  That makes me ponder...

Why is grace so wonderful?  Why is the God's unconditional acceptance of us as a free gift through Christ's work so great?  I think it is because it makes us free to be intimate with Our Wonderful Lover...by grace we have been brought into the most amazing, close, wonderful, perfect relationship of pure love with God Himself!   The gift of God's grace brings us into union with the Giver!

Grace brings us into the very Presence of God where we are made one with Him, fused with His Spirit, to be Christ's Beloved Bride forever. He has many wonderful gifts He gives, but the best of all is the gift of Himself.  Grace has brought us into the arms of the Giver!  For with grace, the Giver IS the Real Gift!

                        With love,

Under the Waterfall of Forgiveness and Grace

I read this recently in a sermon by Rob Rufus at the Grace and Glory website.  It gives a wonderful picture of how we are always clean and righteous and cleansed of all sin before God.  "We have been sanctified through  the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all...For by one offering He has PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME those who are sanctified...And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember NO MORE."  (Rom. 10:10, 14, 17)

"There was a little boy that lived in a poor village in a dilapidated hut and his parents could not pay for any toys or things for him to play with. So every day he would go out into the forest and he would play with things he could make and sticks and stuff. And one day he found this incredible gemstone. Shining, beautiful, attractive, just gleaming with internal light, reflecting. And he played with it all day. So he was just so entranced by it. But he realized, when I go home, there’s no where to hide this gemstone in my father’s hut. So he hid it in the ground in the mud. The next day he came back, took it out, and to his horror, of course, now it’s covered in mud, it’s dirty. It’s not shining, there’s no gleam, there’s no glory. So he had to walk to the river, and wash it and wash it, and wash it and eventually it had that beautiful gleam again and he was so happy. End of the day, had to hide it in the dirt again. Came back.

"Next morning. All dirty, had to take it, wash it. And he went through this process over and over again. And one day, the idea came to him and he went over to a water fall and he wedge this gemstone between two rocks in the center where the main flow of the waterfall was. And all through the night there was a continuous present tense washing of the stone so when he came the next morning, and picked up the stone, it was shining in all it’s beauty.

"The first half of that story describes the old covenant people. Getting. Sinning. Dirty. Cleansed. Restore fellowship. Dirty, cleansed. The last part of that story describes the new covenant. You are righteous forever. The blood of Jesus continuously cleanses and purifies you from all sin. So every second, every moment of every day, you are absolutely clean, and pure, and righteous before the father. That’s why some of us are shocked when the anointing comes on us just after we’ve made a mistake. Because, you see, the father sees you all the time as clean and as holy.

Give up trying to maintain your forgiveness by your efforts and just let the extravagance of God’s waterfall of forgiveness just flow over your life....you will understand, “I am so perfectly clean and righteous all the time.” So every time I pray, my prayers are one target with God. And He hears me every time for his ears are over the prayers of the righteous. And I am the righteousness of God through the obedience of the one man. I am forever in right standing with the Father.

"I don’t care of you fall back into an old habit. I don’t care if you do something you don’t want to do and you do it. I don’t care if you had a bad attitude. I don’t care if you have a bad feeling. I don’t care how bad your sin was, get up, you’re under a fountain.  When you fall, when you fail under a fountain, the fountain does not fail, it keeps coming over you.  You are clean, you are righteous in Him.  The more you believe this, the more victory you will have over sinning.  Come on now, say amen.  Give Him a shout just for the heaven of it."

                                                                       Rob Rufus

More Flowers From My Garden

Just thought I'd share photos of these lovely flowers from my garden!   They include (top to bottom):  lilies, hydrangeas, and a gardenia...

In the Garden

Here's a wonderful thought I read recently on The Mystery Revealed blog:

"The Spirit..said to me: 'Adam was placed in the garden...Now the garden is placed in you.'

"Interesting, don’t you think? The first Adam was placed in the garden. That is an outer thing in the same manner as the law is an outer thing. Well, if the garden is in me, everything is now internalized. I am in other words a law in myself. Spontaneously and effortlessly I now meet the standards of the law since they are an integral part of my new nature. If I am not mistaken He also added: “In the outer garden there were two trees. In the inner garden there is only one tree; the tree of life.” Since there is only one tree, a type of Christ, I cannot go wrong. It is utterly impossible for me to repeat Adam’s mistake. I think we can safely and without being in the risk of exaggerating call this eternal security."

                                                                Ole Henrik Skjelstad

I loved what Ole wrote here!  Adam was placed in a garden that was external to him.  There were two trees in the garden, thus a choice given and a possibility of choosing wrongly and losing the garden.  Now, we believers have the garden placed inside of us!  Heaven is in our heart!  And what's more, this garden has only one tree!  At salvation, the old tree of the knowledge of good and evil was removed and replaced with the tree of life, Christ Himself.  The old tree is gone, and the new tree is the only one there!  We are not under law but under grace!  Since there is only one tree in the garden which was put inside of us, there is no possibility of choosing wrongly and losing the garden!  We are secure!  We can't go wrong!  Wow!

How can we go wrong when we have Christ Himself as our inner nature and garden?  He is the tree of life, the river of living water, the Sun of righteousness!  Come and dine, come and walk with Him in the cool of the day, come and drink freely, rest in His shade, flower and blossom like a rose in the garden!  We shall never thirst again, never hunger again, never be lost again, never lack, never want, never be in darkness, never be alone again, never be forsaken, never lose Him.  We can't lose the garden of life, Christ, because He is IN us and goes with us wherever we go (even if we make our bed in hell, even there His right hand will lead us).  Even in the hells we experience on this earth, our heart lives in a garden named Jesus!  Thank you, dear Lord, for that!

                  With love to all,

He Is..

He is...our Peace...

He is...Calm to our soul...

He is...Rest to our heart...

He is...our Peace..

More Like Falling In Love

I love this song - it's got such a great message!  Christianity isn't an invitation to keep a bunch of rules, it's an invitation into Someone's heart!  It isn't the keeping of outward forms and procedures, it's getting swept off your feet by your True Love!  The demands of law kill our spirit, but being loved by Him is life!

More Like Falling In Love

Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet, it’s gotta be

More like falling in love than something to believe in
More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling, oh
It’s like I’m falling in love

Give me words, I’ll misuse them
Obligations, I’ll misplace them
‘Cause all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free, it’s gotta be
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me, it’s gotta be

More like falling in love than something to believe in
More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now
It's like I'm falling, oh
It's like I'm falling in love

                                                     Jason Gray
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