Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 25 - What is Faith?

I have always struggled with the idea of faith…I have thought in times past that faith was a commodity that I had to have ‘enough’ of in order to make something happen (like new birth) or in order to ‘get’ something from God (like healing) or in order to hold onto and not lose something (like salvation). I Faith was something I had to somehow ‘muster up’ and then, if I ever had any, something I had to keep at constant high levels for fear of losing anything I had somehow gained ‘though faith.’ I was always examining myself to see if I had enough of this ‘thing’ called faith, and of course I always felt I never had enough! This made me feel weak, made me sometimes doubt, made me feel like a sorry Christian, caused me to expect nothing at all from God, made me feel insecure about my salvation, even.

I am so happy that all I believed about faith turned out to be false! Really, the way I saw faith, I made it into a work! And we know that salvation is all God’s work and none of ours, and not only that, His work is finished, finished from the foundation of the world! God already did a complete work for us from the start of the whole creation…and Jesus broke forth into our tangible existence and revealed it here on earth 2000 years ago…now we are simply waking up to what is already real and true! Hey, that is wonderful!

Faith turns out to be simply seeing what is already true, seeing reality! It is like the confidence and trust that comes from seeing what Christ has already done for us. We don’t work up faith within ourselves, it’s already there! It’s God’s gift to us and is really HIS faith in us, bouncing off the walls of our heart and reverberating out when we hear the good news of our salvation, of what Christ has already done and completed in and for us!

So faith doesn’t make something happen, it all already happened; faith doesn’t get God to give us something, for He already gave us everything; faith doesn’t even have to desperately hold onto what is given, for it’s ours permanently as a permanent reality!

What is it that Christ has already done, that we already are and have, that is true permanently for us? What can we say is true for the whole of us, the entire human family, the whole world, through His perfect original creation of us and His perfect finished work for us, as us? All people are already loved and accepted, already made righteous, already forgiven, already clean, already dead and alive again, already in heaven reigning, already healed and whole, already overcomers, already perfect, already innocent, already home, already taken in and included, already reconciled, already sanctified and set apart/made holy, already pure and blameless, already good, already having a good nature, already having Christ in them, already having the Spirit in them, already having God with them, already taken care of, already safe and saved, already an heir of eternal life, already in the circle of the Trinity, already in union with God, already permanently one with God, already secure, already found, already in the fellowship of the Son with the Father, already enjoyed and delighted in, already beautiful, already wonderful, already precious, already redeemed, already strong, already free from law, sin, condemnation, guilt, shame, punishment and death, already in grace, already loaded with blessings, already in resurrection life, already having HIS life, already in peace and harmony with God, already in right relationship with God, already right with God!

There is nothing left to do, gain, attain, hold onto, or become! He did it ALL, He finished His work and we are all home free! I remember when I was first being introduced to these ideas, first reading a couple of Andre’s writings, and it was as if God kept whispering to my heart, “I did it all…I took you ALL THE WAY THERE..into the throne room!” He did it all, took us all the way home to heaven and plopped us down on Papa’s lap, and that is where we all are today, whether we know it or not! He shares the good news with us of what He’s already done, and of His opinion about us (HIS faith in us!), and that faith of God echoes within us and rises as our faith in Him! When you see how much someone has done in love for you, to help and rescue you in the midst of your trouble and mess, you naturally trust that person, because they have proved their love for you. God proved His love for us through Jesus, for while we were yet sinners, in a royal mess, He died for us, He rescued us, He lifted us out of the mire and put our feet on a solid rock! When we were trapped in our sins and confusion, He saved us! When we were dead in our sinful mindset, He raised us up with Christ into resurrection life, never-can-be-killed life, always-and-forever life, eternal life, HIS very life!!! Wow! Faith is simply waking up to that fact, seeing it, relaxing and having new confidence because of it. Faith doesn’t make it happen – how can dead people have faith or make things happen?? We were dead, HE made us alive, and it was obviously without our ‘help’ or ‘our faith’ doing it or making something happen, wasn’t it? Wow! It really IS all HIS work and it really IS finished! Faith is just when we see what already happened, see reality. Faith is like Dorothy waking up in her own bed in Kansas, realizing what she’d been ‘going through’ in her nightmare was just that, a bad dream and not the real reality at all. We wake up to God’s reality that has been true for us since the foundation of the world! We wake up to the dream He has had of us since before time began, a dream of living in union with God in perfect intimacy and true innocence, of loving fellowship and a forever dance with Him, two hearts intertwined forever in complete oneness! While our dreams are fake nightmare illusions, God’s dreams come to pass and are the really real, the only true reality! We are in God’s reality and always have been, and He’s waking up the world to see it!

So what use is faith? Faith simply lets us enjoy the union we’re in, for we can look into His eyes without fear or shame, can be naked in His presence, can feel strong in His stable love, can share our dreams and feelings with Him without hesitation. Faith is like seeing where you are for the first time, not vulnerable and alone but safe in a strong fortress (His presence and love), so you don’t have to be afraid of any enemy/danger outside anymore! Once we see we are safe in this shelter of His loving arms, we don’t have to fear, don’t have to worry. And we don’t have to make any striving or effort to get to that place (His presence, union with Him), since we’re already there – so faith brings an end to strivings and strainings, brings rest. Faith – seeing reality – means we start enjoying reality, enjoying the relationship with God inside us that has always been and always will be, the deep intimacy with Him, the transparent sharing and oneness fellowship that we were made for all along and has been there all along! Faith – seeing reality – lets us stop straining to ‘become’ and instead finally relax about ourselves and our status with God, for we already ARE all we were meant to be, we are truly loved and accepted unconditionally, no matter what, thus we can more easily accept ourselves and even like ourselves. Faith lets us rest from our efforts to attain something and enjoy the party that we are already at! Faith allows us to experience this wonderful forever life with Him, the life of God flowing through our lives in wonderful tangible manifestation and experience starting right now on planet earth! 

The life of the ages that was always in us, Christ Himself, resurrection life, eternal life, wells up in us like a living fountain of fresh water and pours through us like a waterfall of love and grace and life, making the desert places green and thriving, refreshing both us and those around us! We get to enjoy life, enjoy HIM, right here and now, spirit to Spirit, perfect fellowship and communion, right here inside our skin and amongst us all, the Spirit flowing amongst us all, the river of life spreading till it fills the earth and the whole earth is filled with the knowledge (intimate knowing, communion of hearts!) of the Lord, like the waters covering the sea! Flow river, flow, fill this land with the Father’s glory!

Eternity is NOW, is HERE, is upon ALL, is manifesting EVERYWHERE! This reality is breaking forth and being seen by more and more people, oh how wonderful…this good news can’t stay secret…it’s bursting at the seams, popping out all over, exploding out from within us!! He is like a fountain that can’t be plugged up or held back by any barrier or lies, confusion, fear, or misunderstanding! He has won over all that, and HIS victory, HIS reality will be known and enjoyed. For Love wins, Life wins, Reality wins, the Finished Work wins, the Spirit wins, Jesus wins, Papa wins, humanity wins!

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 24 - New Creation Reality

This morning I have been pondering some great truths..
All were in disobedience, all were recipients of God’s mercy.
All have sinned, all were justified.
All were condemned through one man’s sin, all were made righteous through one Man’s righteous act.
All died in Adam, all were made alive in Christ.
All fell short of God’s glory, all are revealed with Christ in glory!

I love thinking about all humanity already being raised with Christ and even ascended and seated with Christ in heaven..wow, it is mind-boggling! The only difference between a believer in this good news and an unbeliever in it, is that one is seeing reality and the other is not yet seeing it – yet for both, it IS real!
It is a certainty that I am raised and seated with Christ, yet many times I don’t feel like it, talk like it or act like it. And this can bother me, can make me feel I need to ‘do’ or ‘understand’ or ‘believe’ something better to get this new reality to manifest. Yet I keep coming back to a quote I read on facebook recently: “God will manifest your new creation identity without your help.” Wow, that’s grace! He saves us single-handed, as Robert Capon says, and also He manifests it single-handedly! A dead person could not contribute anything, even faith, in order to bring about resurrection..dead people can’t ‘do’ or ‘believe’ anything! God had to do it all for us, and He did, through the Son. He carried us with Him through death and up into life, carried us all the way to the throne room of heaven and plopped us down on Papa’s lap! All of us, all humanity, wow!  Our wonderful position in heavenly places in Christ is a product of God's initiative, of Christ's work and faith, not our own..that way it can never be lost or altered!

So not only am I already there without doing one thing of my own initiative to make it happen (He brought it all about without my help!), but also this reality will manifest in my life without my help! God brought to mind the picture of a tree planted by the water, and I thought of how it naturally grows and thrives and bears fruit…the tree doesn’t have to stress and strain and keep doing ‘fruit checks’ – it just sits there! The sunshine and water from the river just go into the tree and life happens! It happens now, and now, and now, always and forever – life is happening right now for all of us, the oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord! HE planted us by the river of life up in heaven (we didn’t even have to ‘plant ourselves’), He planted us there within Jesus Christ, the Tree of Life, Himself. We are not separate from that tree but part of it, branches of the Vine Himself! In fact, we were never separated from Him at all but were always connected!

I love the revelation of union…when I read what Andre Rabe wrote in his book Word Made Flesh about Christ never revealing Himself as a separate entity from us but always ‘as in a mirror,’ I feel it made more sense to me than ever before – Christ only reveals Himself as one with me and in connection with me. He never presents Himself as apart from me but always and ever as a union with me. He shows me that He is in me, not as a separate entity, but as the ‘secret center’ of my life, as the deepest part of me, as ‘the most real fact about me,’ as Brennan Manning used to say! He reveals Himself as me in some crazy way! The definition of me as a human being is actually a union of God and man! I am a relationship, a union relationship of me and God Himself, in this flesh body. I look at Him, look into those eyes of love and find myself – I am the one Jesus loves, that is who I am! (And I am loved, His beloved, without any reference to right or wrong, good or bad – just accepted, embraced, loved, without any condition or stipulation!) I am a love relationship between God and man! I am a union love relationship in a body! I am not and have never been alone because the whole definition of a human is flesh matter and God’s Spirit substance together meshed together to form a human being! I never am alone. I never look out at this world alone. I never live alone! We are together here inside me. The real me, the inner child, is one with Jesus, always walking in the garden with Him, planted by the rivers of heaven with Him, sitting on Papa’s lap with Him. My constant companion, my best friend, the One who carries me through life and thinks my thoughts and feels my feelings, who understands me at the deepest level because He’s right there at the deepest level, one with me always, the One who loves me like noone else – that wonderful Person is the most real fact about me!

My friend Kristian Holmes made a wonderful statement about the new creation reality that we now enjoy, and I wanted to share that thought:  "What a joy to now actively participate in reality. All of life takes on a new meaning when we see what He sees. We continue to recognize that old mindsets and ways of seeing ourself have died in His death and everything Jesus experiences is what we are forever alive to."  Another friend, Andrea Joss, adds this:  "Words cannot tell how wonderful this good good news really is! And what it does to our souls… they are finally allowed to lean back and relax! Oooohhh! Baxter Kruger says that the Christian life consists of nothing else but discovering the reality. Just discovering what there IS already. Discovering what has been DONE. Discovering the truth."  What a wonderful journey of discovery this new creation life is, just discovering and enjoying the union life with God that already IS!

New creation reality is that I am one with Christ, seated in heaven on Papa’s lap with Him, IN love and IN life forever! I may not see or feel it completely here on earth, but no matter – He brought it all to be, and He will manifest it for all to see! I need do nothing. I can rest on Daddy’s lap, or run free in the fields of grace with my Older Brother, or dance with the Holy Spirit..or do nothing at all…I can cry, I can share my feelings, I can be vulnerable, I can even doubt, rant, throw tantrums and lash out in anger and confusion..and it won’t change a thing, I am safe in His arms of love and I cannot offend Him or drive Him to reject me, ever! We are so intimately connected that nothing can tear us apart, not even any dumb thing I do or believe. To tear us apart would be like tearing apart not only my own being, but also HIS! We are one, that’s who we are, HE and I. I can’t be defined without Him, and He has chosen never to be defined without me! WHENEVER He is revealed, I am revealed right there with Him in glory – that is new creation reality, and God brought it about and will fully manifest it without my help! Relief! Joy and peace! Total grace! For us all!

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 23 - Resurrection Life Now!

"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."                       2 Corin. 4:18

I love thinking about eternal reality, what is true in the eternal realm!  In the eternal scope of things, we all died and rose with Christ and are in resurrection life right now, even while on this visible earth:

In Adam, all died, because all sinned. Sin entered the world..I think about that – sin entered this realm of matter – I love how it DOESN’T say sin entered humans but that it entered the world! We are born innocent and pure and good, because we are in God’s image, yet we are born into a poisoned environment, and the sin in this world affects us..we hear and succumb to lies about ourselves, lies that we hear through the world, other people, the enemy and the traditions passed down to us from our elders at church and other institutions that run on performance and legalism and conditional acceptance…and we eventually choose sin, we live as so much less than we are, we do very real wrong acts that hurt ourselves and others, we struggle with feelings of unworth and alienation from God, we succumb to self-judgment, feel the need to punish ourselves, can’t handle the shame and pain of who we think we are and all that we’ve done, open ourselves up to evil’s reign, to death. Yet Jesus comes and absorbs all the judgment, shame, pain and guilt we feel; He absorbs it all into Himself, and though He doesn’t need to punish us in order to feel okay with us, He understands that our performance way of thinking makes us feel someone needs to pay for our sins, and so He absorbs those sins and becomes that for us so that we can feel okay with ourselves and feel at ease about approaching God. He takes down sin and guilt and judgment with Him into the grave, and since we are included and connected with Him in all He does, that is also our death to sin and guilt and judgment. They are once and forever separated from us and us from them! Thus He takes away our sin and judgment! We are free!

Yet He does something even more wonderful in the resurrection: In Christ, all are made alive! Christ was raised because of our justification – our righteousness! He vindicates our righteousness through His resurrection! When the sin and lying identity, the fake man that never was the real us, is put down through His death, the innocent original self that we really are is revealed, righteous and pure and good! And since you can’t keep a good man down, Jesus cannot be kept down in the grave, and neither can we! Death has no hold on Him, there is no sin on Him that would lead to death, and no law or performance way of thinking there to demand death anyway, for that whole system has also been set aside and separated from Him and us at His death. So there is nothing to keep Christ – or us – in the grave! So His resurrection is proof of my innocence, proof that my original self God created is and was always good, pure and right in His eyes, fit for relationship with Him, compatible with Him, in His image of love and thus a love being just like Himself! Wow!

How can we be sure that all that He went through includes us, that we also went through all that – how can we be sure that just as He died to sin, so did we, and just as He was raised and now lives to God, is alive to God, so are we? I love how Andre Rabe talks about electron entanglement, how since everything has a common origin or source, everything is still connected and touching! We are all entangled with Him, because He is our source, creator and origin! We flow out from Him like little electrons, always bearing His charge, always attracted back to Him, always oriented toward and with Him, forever intertwined with Him, our destinies connected with His, so whatever He does and whatever happens to Him has an effect on us in an ultimate way! This helps me so much in understanding how what Jesus went through is also what we went through. I love how my connection with Jesus is prior to and thus stronger than my connection with Adam, for Jesus made me and thus for my life, all that He does trumps all the effects of what Adam did! I love being tied like this to Jesus! I love that my connection with Him is waaay stronger than any connection with Adam or with sin/lies! I love how He has carried me everywhere that He Himself has gone – through death and into the grave, and then up from the grave and into resurrection life!

I love what my friend Andrea says, that 'resurrection life now' means just “being the ones we truly are!” Resurrection life isn’t something to try to attain to, something that is so super-spiritual that it feels unreachable except for the ‘really committed’ – it’s what we all are in already, all gathered up in Him!! Wow, it’s not something to reach for (as if there is distance and delay involved) but something to sink into and enjoy, as in enjoying the soft chair you have already been put in or enjoying the party you are already at! I have spent my whole life feeling I need to do or be ‘more’, feeling like I was always ‘not there yet,’ but what a joy to find I am already there, already fine! It reminds me of a quote by Dan Stone in his book, The Rest of the Gospel: “You are all you were ever meant to be: one with the One who is Life!”

What a wonderful life we already have with Him, what wonderful relief and rest to already be in LIFE! We’re in Life and we’re never going out! He takes off every bit of strain, stress and pressure to ‘do’ or ‘attain’ anything..There is not even one thing left to do, even believing doesn’t make anything happen, for it ALL already happened, didn’t it! He has done it ALL, all is safe and all is well, all are home, all are alive in Him! Faith must be simply spiritual sight, then, not making something happen but seeing what’s already happened, seeing this eternal and really real reality that may still be partly invisible yet is truly real!

So what do we see with the eyes of our spirit?  What is in this really real yet partly invisible reality?  Well, it’s such a wonderful fresh world over here in this eternal realm! Instead of spiraling ever downward into decay from sin and its effects , I am spiraling ever upward into real abundant flourishing from His life and its effects! His life has the final word in my life, not any sin or lies! The fake identity is shown to be nothing and the true identity is free to flourish! I am not judged on performance but instead freely accepted by grace, for law is not holding sway here, grace is! I can fail and still be just as loved, accepted, included, and right with God as ever, for this is a place of secure love given from a Father to His children, not a place of a servant working for a Boss, with his position in jeopardy at any time. This is a place of oneness, not duality or separation. This is a place where we don’t have to think of sin or good and evil but where there is simply the enjoyment of union relationship with Him! This is a place of Love, not Fear. A place of truth, not lies. A place where God has already conquered death and the grave, lies and the curse, so what is there to worry about, for all will come out well! This is the place of freedom, not restriction. This is the place of BEING, not trying to become good or trying to stop becoming bad. This is the place of fullness, not longing. This is the place of rest, not struggle. This is the place of completion, not feelings of inferiority. This is the place of union, not separation. This is the place where Jesus IS, and I AM in Him, tucked forever with Him into the Father’s bosom, saturated with the Holy Spirit, caught up in the fellowship dance of the Trinity! This is the place of Resurrection Life NOW!

Forgiveness is Release!

  • I love the idea of being released and freed! I read somewhere that when Paul talks about forgiveness he is talking about release from something, deliverance from something that is binding the person who has sinned..so it wasn’t that God was offended and had to somehow calm Himself down and say ‘ok, I forgive you,’ but that He is our good Daddy who steps into the mess we’ve made and says, “Don’t worry, I can fix everything good as new, I still love you, I’m right here,” He is so understanding and doesn’t just fix up whatever mess came from our wrong acts, but He understands why we acted that way in the first place, and He heals that wounded spot in us, shows us the truth of His unconditional love which dispels the lies that have entangled us and made us act crazily….and that frees us from our guilt and shame, frees us to relax in His presence, frees us to live not by law (trying to do right and then feeling self-righteous, or trying and failing and trying to hide behind masks and feeling ashamed) but to live by grace, just being ourselves and enjoying life in the light of His acceptance and unconditional love!

    I love that definition of forgiveness as release, (so similar to the idea of redemption as claiming and freeing what is one’s own, and the idea of salvation as deliverance, wow!) and I think that with that release from all the lies and sin that was holding our true self down, we are now freed to be that real self, the real self emerges at resurrection and live free and happy and secure! And it isn’t just the real self but the real self is actually me in union with Christ, right! He has tied me to Him and takes me with Him wherever He goes, down into the grave to release me from the sin that was attached to me, and also up into new life to finally get to be my true self, the inner child being lifted up into real life with Him! And tied thus to Him, we can never again be fatally wounded by sin, bound by death, or fatally held captive by lies! Sure we may sin or get confused, but the lie doesn’t have a death grip on us anymore, death is conquered by the power of an indestructible life!

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 22 - Resurrection!

  • Behold, I make all things new!   Revelation 21:5
    This is the picture I am seeing in my mind of the experience of resurrection: It is like I am wandering lost in a dark wood. There is no sound and no light to guide me. It is frightening and lonely. It is cold and damp and the close air heavily presses down, the scrubby branches claw and scratch. You feel trapped, as if in a prison. The place seems endless, it seems there’s no way out of such a place.

    Yet suddenly there are shafts of light! And suddenly you find yourself walking in those rays of pearly light, suddenly you hear birds singing, their clear notes ringing out like bells! Suddenly fresh air brushes your face, spring flowers caress you bare feet, branches filled with alpine fragrance bend their arms around you like an embrace. The smell of dew and wet earth and new leaves fills the air. And you feel alive again, happy again, light and carefree again! You feel hope rise within you again! You find yourself walking in sunshine, on an easy and beautiful path, under the sheltering trees – you find yourself not in a prison but a sanctuary! And you know not how it happened, but it did!

    That is what I feel has been happening to me throughout these posts! I feel God has been healing so many wounded places and getting rid of so many lies that I’ve believed…and it hasn’t been so much that I’ve been ‘working’ on my issues or on these areas, it is more that just hearing Him whisper those words of grace and love, and seeing who Jesus us and who I am, just HEARING THE GOSPEL in all its true glory, well it has just been healing me up without my even knowing how!

    I came into this course with lots of confusion, struggle, depression, fear, etc. I was coming from a low place and wanting to recover. I had heard of grace years before but had been so beaten down by life I had forgotten it and really didn’t understand truth anymore, my eyes had gotten so dim and my heart so weighed down! And there was so much false teaching in me from years of religion. And yet, through this course, it was like windows started opening in my mind and light flooded in again. Little by little, truths were remembered and new truths embraced! He has been pouring His love and grace all over and healing me up…and just a few days ago, I realized I was happy! I realized I was so much more at peace, that I felt hopeful that things would get better, that I felt good about life again! And even good about myself a little bit! And that I was seeing God as so much nicer and kinder than before – when I thought of Him, I didn’t seem to picture a dark shroud over His face anymore but instead He seemed always smiling, open and friendly! Approachable! Not a scary judge anymore but a doting Father and a loyal Friend! I don’t even know how it happened, but I feel I am experiencing resurrection, the manifestation of what was ALREADY true for me but that I wasn’t really enjoying fully!

    Jesus raised me up with Him..He made death work backward into life, His own divine and eternal Life..instead of everything spiraling downward, now, in connection with Him as we all are (since He is our creator and origin), we are spiraling ever upward in Him! Not only are we restored to life but we are in HIS life, where we can never be ‘lost’ or ‘fall’ again! All things are working back toward Him from whom they came! It’s already true in the eternal and it WILL manifest completely in the visible and tangible! And God will be all in all! In the meantime, I can wake up every morning in newness of life, I can be happy again, I can know that things are getting better, I can know that eternity is HERE and NOW for me, and that it is already true what Jesus said, “I make ALL THINGS NEW!”

    As I was writing this post, I was sitting in my living room on this bleak and rainy morning here in the southern USA, where we are getting gray skies and sheets of rain ..and suddenly I heard a bird sing! The song was so loud and clear, just like the little guy was sitting right beside me there in my living room! He sang out a couple of times, and it was so beautiful! What a reminder of the springtime of resurrection, in the midst of the damp and gray! When life seems to be ending and hopeless, He is still saying, “I make all things new!” It is already true, already real, and it is certain and guaranteed to manifest in the natural, tied as we are to the One who has already taken us through into resurrection life with Him, indestructible life, eternal life, abundant life, forevermore! We really do live in the already of His life, don’t we? His life was always inside us, in our spirit, and now it breaks forth into our soul and body! The Spirit has been there all along, and now we are waking up to His presence! We are IN LIFE, and we are never going out!
  • As I ponder resurrection more, and I am thinking about how it is really the birth and flowering forth of the true, original, conceived/created by God self that always was, that was always tucked away in God’s heart and mind, kept safe in Christ from before the world began, always deep inside me in my spirit, my true spirit identity that was always one with Him, never separated, never confused or believing lies, always pure and innocent, the ‘inner child’ now coming forth! Freed and liberated from the flesh veil (lie of the false identity) that was keeping that little one held down and hidden behind a swirl of confusion and lies (the bondage of the foreign tyrant sin, belief in separation and inferiority)… 

  • It is just so exciting to think of His life in us! I don’t understand it fully. There is much to learn and explore. Vast regions of grace and love and life are within Him, just waiting to be enjoyed, yay! Thank You Jesus! I come alive again in You, and this time it’s for keeps, isn’t it – thanks to Your indestructible, eternal life coursing through every part of me!
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