Tag Archives: Grace

Reblog: We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

4 Feb

My good friend Mel Wild has done it again… he’s waxing eloquent and innovative in encapsulating the message of boundless grace and freedom in God.  Especially ponder C.S. Lewis’ quote: We settle for being far too easily pleased with mud pies… because we find it hard to grasp the magnitude of freedom God has for us.  You’ll enjoy this reblog from Mel’s In My Father’s House! — MLH

Boundless grace

Boundless_GraceThe purpose of God’s grace is not primarily about escaping punishment.  It’s primarily about freedom.

God wants you to be free just as He is free.  In fact, this freedom is why Christ set us free (Gal.5:1).

Our problem is, we’ve only known various forms of bondage we thought was freedom.

So God must take us through a process to help us understand that His freedom is better than our freedom.  This process is the renewing of our mind (Rom.12:2).  For He wants us to see things the way He sees them (1 Cor.2:16).

And it should take no stretch of faith for us to believe that His understanding of joy and life and freedom is infinitely better than ours.

As C.S. Lewis so aptly put it in His classic work, The Weight of Glory

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.”

What is this grace freedom all about then?  It’s God’s life within you that empowers you to fully function in all you were meant to be.  As Graham Cooke said at a conference I was at…

“Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables you to become the person that He sees when He looks at you.”

When we properly understand this, we find that God’s grace is boundless, just as His love is unfathomable and His joy is infinite.

Contrary to our popular sin-obsessed evangelical culture, the most amazing thing about grace is that sin is no longer an issue between us and God.

The truth is, He’s not counting our sins against us anymore (See 2 Cor.5:19).  In fact, He’s pretty happy with the finished work of Christ on the Cross.  He seems to be content to remember them no more (Heb.8:12).

Yet, most Christians still don’t believe this. Furthermore, not only do they think God is still remembering and counting their sins against them, they’re still remembering and counting everybody else’s sins too.  Sadly, they stay in a religious form of bondage instead of a rebellious one.

This irony is quite astounding in light of the fact that declaring God’s complete forgiveness and reconciliation is our ministry (See 2 Cor.5:20).

Grace is mainly about empowering who God made us to be in Christ rather than about getting what we don’t deserve.  I realize that this is a different take but, again, only because of our sin-conscious religious paradigm.  And while I do agree that everything we receive from God is unmerited, it still misses the main point of grace.

Defining grace simply as unmerited favor also means that Jesus cannot be our example of what it looks like to walk in grace.

Why is this so?  Because, as Graham Cooke also pointed out, if grace is the unmerited favor of God, then Jesus didn’t have any.  Yet, He was full of grace and truth.

The sin issue for us on this side of the Cross is not about forgiveness, it’s that we still see it as a forbidden fruit instead of a toxic poison.  We still don’t see that sin has its own punishment in the form of the bondage and toll it takes on our lives.  Not to mention, the wreckage of broken relationships it can leave in its wake.

Claiming grace to get away with wrong doing is the baby end of Christian living.  As C.S. Lewis said, it shows our complete ignorance of what we have in Christ.

Paul tells us that, while everything is legal for a Christian, it’s not necessarily good for us.  Here’s how the Message paraphrase states this reality…

“Just because something is technically legal
doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate.
If I went around doing whatever
I thought I could get by with,
I’d be a slave to my whims.” (1 Cor.6:12 MSG)

Do you see this?  Sin is bondage and slavery, and we are no longer slaves.  It’s not appropriate because we died and our life is Christ’s life (Rom.6:1-4, 14).

Spiritual maturity is finding the source of our life from Christ.  Everything we do from this place will be filled with His joy and love.

We’re not freed to sin, we’re freed from sin’s power to enslave us.

Unlike Adam, our eyes have been opened to what the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil actually is, and now we’re eating freely from the Tree of Life.  Sin no longer defines us, empowers our heart, nor compares with the fullness that fills God and the immeasurable power that works within us (Eph.3:19-20).  There’s really no contest.

I will finish by using my favorite passage from the Message Bible again.

“Dear, dear Corinthians,
I can’t tell you how much I long for you
to enter this wide-open, spacious life.
We didn’t fence you in.
The smallness you feel comes from within you.
Your lives aren’t small,but you’re living them in a small way.
I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection.
Open up your lives.
Live openly and expansively!” (2 Cor.6:12-13 MSG)

Beloved of God, hear what the Spirit is saying.  Live your life openly and expansively.  Don’t let the smallness of religion or rebellion fence you in.  You are free as God is free. Live in His boundless life of grace.  It’s more amazing that you can possibly imagine.

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Choices…

8 Dec

“Working out our salvation” requires choices… here are two options, walking under law or grace:

1. The law actually incites us to sinChoices

“For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.” – Romans 7:5

2. Grace teaches us to not sin

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,“ – Titus 2:11-12

I wonder which one we should choose, if indeed we want to walk out our righteousness?  This should be easy.  It’s an open-book test… a no-brainer.

Hmmm… so, trying harder to keep the law actually has counterproductive results.  But when we metanoia (change our minds about God) the grace of God leads us into righteous living.

I know which one I’m choosing.

— MLH

Test All Things

3 Jun

There is no shortage of wranglings over theological private interpretations of Scripture, so how do we evaluate whether something is valid or not.  Should we follow the loudest voice, stick to tradition, get offended at everyone, take the easiest route, bail out, give in to intimidation, take a vote, toss a coin…?  Sadly, most people cave in to one of these easy-out methods.  But test it we must, because each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” (Rms 14:12)… and none of us wants to blindly run head long over a cliff.  Paul charged us to test all things and only hold what is good.             

“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – I Thess 5:21

Test all things

Test all things

So beyond the theological points, here are some of my personal thought processes I use to find my footing in this abounding grace movement.

If I could only find a few people who were getting this ‘download’ about abounding grace (Rms 5:20), I would tend to feel suspicious of the veracity of these revelations.  And even if I was confident of their veracity, yet didn’t know that others were experiencing the same thing, I might still feel tenuous about buying in.  Like Elijah, who thought that he was the only one who still served God (I Kngs 18:22;19:10) I could feel prone to either pride… or discouragement and insecurity.

Thankfully, we’re not like Elijah.  We don’t believe that we’re the only one(s) who are walking in this revelation.  Figuratively speaking, there are ‘7000’ (I Kngs 19:18) who are leaning hard into abounding grace.  Across the globe many different and unrelated sectors of the body of Christ are getting rocked and liberated in this wholesale revelation of abounding grace.  This gives much confidence and impetus… and brings up a good point.

Consider the prayer movement which grew so rapidly in the last 1 1/2  decades… the fact that it emerged in so many unrelated sectors of the body of Christ gave credibility to it being Holy Spirit’s initiation and co-ordination of the movement.  Likewise this grace movement is springing up in many unrelated streams and groups… which by itself tends to give credibility that this is Holy Spirit’s abounding grace message.

Further, if the fruit of any movement leans toward increased carnality and lawlessness, then that poor fruit gives evidence of its undesirable source (Lk 6:44).  Conversely, if the grace community is falling more in love with this wonderful Man Jesus, then the fruit speaks of Holy Spirit’s handiwork.  Remember when Jesus was assailed by the religious crowd and His message was assigned to the devil, He said, “…A house divided cannot stand.  If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished!” (Mk 3:25-26).  In other words, the devil wouldn’t undermine his own ‘house’ by making more deeply devoted disciples of Jesus… not 2000 years ago… and not today.

But we must establish some criteria as we seek to evaluate the fruit and thus, determine the root or origin.  There have always been rogues and renegades within any movement who make obtrusive and cross-current waves… even destructive waves.  But just because an individual runs amuck doesn’t necessarily indict a whole movement… e.g., mainline Christianity has way too many egg-on-the-face outbreaks of maverick individuals and spurious groups.  That didn’t negate the veracity of Christianity… it just gave insight into those who shipwrecked.  In like manner, if individuals distort and pervert abounding grace, it doesn’t necessarily black-list abounding grace… it just gives us insight into those who shipwreck.  Rather, we must look for the fruit of the movement as a whole.

So the way a movement emerges… and a movement’s fruit… both help to determine its authenticity.

We must watch to see how and where the Godly fruit of this abounding grace wave breaks out.  That will be the hot spot you’ll want to drink from.  That’s where God is giving His attestation from Heaven… where the abounding grace anointing is most strong… and where you get ‘infected’ most impactingly.  Ripe and hungry believers will instinctively be drawn there.  You won’t be able to keep them away.  It’s always been that way.  Even the Magi did it… they went to where the greatest outbreak was (the Star) in order to see for themselves.

And you know… true wise men are still looking and listening for the evidence… and then they go to find Him where ever He can be found.

— MLH

“You have forgotten who you are!”

2 Dec

This is a re-blog from Kilen’s Spot:  (Dec 2, 2013) and (Dec 3, 2013)

  Image
Disney movies have spoken to me; “The Lion King“,” “Mulan,” “A Bugs Life,” and so all have messages with in them.  Watch this section of the Lion King. (3:17 mins)



Now after watching it, read the verses below:


2 Corinthians 3:18

The days of window-shopping are over! In him every face is unveiled. In gazing with wonder at the blueprint likeness of God displayed in human form, we suddenly realize that we are looking at ourselves! Every feature of his image is mirrored in us! This is the most radical transformation engineered by the Spirit of the Lord; we are led from an inferior mind-set to the revealed endorsement of our authentic identity. Mankind is his glory!

James 1:23-25
They realize that they are looking at themselves, but for the one it seems just too good to be true, he departs (back to his old way of seeing himself) and immediately forgets what manner of person he is; never giving another thought to the one he saw there in the mirror.The other one is mesmerized by what he sees; he is captivated by the effect of a law that frees man from the obligation to the old written code that restricted him to his own efforts and willpower. No distraction or contradiction can dim the impact of what he sees in that mirror concerning the law of perfect liberty (the law of faith) that now frees him to get on with the act of living the life (of his original design.)

He finds a new spontaneous lifestyle; the poetry of practical living.(The law of perfect liberty is the image and likeness of God revealed in Christ, now redeemed in man as in a mirror. Look deep enough into that law of faith that you may see there in its perfection a portrait that so resembles the original that he becomes distinctly visible in the spirit of your mind and in the face of every man you behold. I translated the word, parakupto, with mesmerized from para, a preposition indicating close proximity, originating from, denoting the point from which an action originates, intimate connection, and kupto, to bend, stoop down to view at close scrutiny; parameno, to remain captivated under the influence of; meno, to continue to be present. The word often translated as freedom, eleutheria, means without obligation; spontaneous.)We have forgotten who we are! We are all created in God’s image (Gen 1:26). We all have our start IN HIM. Our original DNA is HIS. Through the cross we have the ability to have our spiritual DNA restored. He is in us! He is the I am in me!!  He is not far from me/you!

The revelation found within the movie The Lion King basically speaks to your identity and Christ in you.  Rafiki (the gibbon) has Simba (the young lion) look into the water and asks him to tell him what he sees.  
Upon looking into the reflection he responds “No, that’s not my father.” Rafiki says “Look harder. .. . You see, he lives in you.”

Mufasa “You have forgotten me, so you have forgotten who you are, look inside yourself Simba, you are more than what you have become… Remember who you are, you are my son.”

In a way that is the gospel,  Christ came to show us who we are.  We are all God’s sons and daughters.   The finished work of the cross is the act that provides this as revelation.  It is that realignment of our thoughts and beliefs as to our identity.

In the movie Mulan there is as good of an analogy of grace as I have ever seen.

Mulan comes home (click on pic to view a very stirring 59 second video)

Mulan wants to come to her father and be accepted and forgiven.  She thinks that by bringing medals and the sword she can gain it.  Notice her father’s response. 

Fa Zhou: “Mulan…”

Mulan: [kneels] “Father. I brought you the sword of Shan-Yu, and the crest of the Emperor.  They’re gifts, to honor the Fa family.”

[Fa Zhou drops the sword and crest on the ground and embraces Mulan]

Fa Zhou: “The greatest gift and honor… is having you for a daughter.”

I know personally I have always felt like I have had to work to attain some kind of spiritual ok-iness (my own word).  I was taught to do this and do that and I would gain righteousness.  I was taught I had to work to gain access to God.  When all along (pre-dirt, Gen 1:26) I was made in God’s image.  I have had His DNA before the earth was created.  All along I have been his son.  All mankind is His sons and daughters.  We have been deceived into believing we are less.  We have been deceived into believing we could do some 7 step method to gain righteousness.

Grace, salvation, and righteousness are all free gifts that we can do nothing to gain on our own accord.

Are you looking for something that is already inside you?

Quote: Thinking From the Throne

29 Oct

 

God is inviting us into Biblical Throne-room thinking
When Jesus raised from the dead He didn’t do it FOR you, He did it AS you.
You can have a million dollars in the bank and still starve?
We must learn to tap into our inheritance
Faith explores what revelation provides
You can’t enjoy what you haven’t explored
God wants to re-illustrate who this Jesus is… through us.
God’s intention is that we would re-present Jesus in the earth
Col 3:1-4 You’re dead (to earthly things). Stop acting like you’re not dead
Set your mind on where you are now!!!
‘Heavenly places’ is NOW our home… everything else is a field trip.
Abiding in this ASCENDED life is the invitation to every believer.
The Lord’s prayer: Recreate Heaven’s culture ON earth
It’s a lot easier to ASK… rather than to begin to learn to RULE.
Rulership – Biblical definition: rule over to protect and come under to empower.
When you’ve tasted of supernatural supply you’ve lost the right to begin any thought process with what you don’t have.
Usually, we live under the kingdom that we think the most about.
Many people try to earn what He’s already paid for… forgiveness, sickness, provision…
He died AS you and me!!! It has ALL been paid for.
The mind is a better follower than a teacher… It was made to follow our spirit man.
The Lord is longing to live on earth again, through yielded people who re-present Him without defiling or compromising the inheritance He’s given them.
Rms 5:17 “Reign in life” means there is nothing that comes against you in life that you don’t have authority over.

by Bill Johnson – Bethel Church (from Sunday AM sermon – 6/9/13)

For free weekly downloadable podcasts from Bethel Church: www.ibethel.org

Defanging The Law of Jante

22 Oct

Satan has always been the accuser of the brethren.  He has never wanted anyone to be “more than a conqueror”… or to excel, unless it serves his ‘lower’ purpose of hate… hate for God and hate for humans.  If at all possible, he’d love to keep us in such a ‘dumbed-down’ state that not only is our own growth stunted, but that we would become ‘police’ to prevent the growth of others.  It doesn’t take much foresight to see that this produces a vicious circle where the enforcers become the people who are oppressed by it.

It works like this: When someone excels, insecure people begin to feel uncomfortable with the disruption in the status quo… the betterment that one person experiences becomes an indictment to the one who hasn’t changed.  They may wish they had the courage or ability to change… but as an alternative to ‘kicking into gear’ and doing something about their status quo, they salve their insecurity-discomfort by inflicting some sort of warning shot ‘over the bow’ of the excel-er.  Then when the ‘police-er’ missteps in some manner, the same warning shot gets returned to corral him back in line.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” (God’s Word version)

It requires Heaven’s help to break free when these mindsets and actions are deeply ingrained and broadly practiced.  Any person or society that embraces this mentality effectively stops their further growth or healthy change.  That society (or individual) begins to stagnate and become ingrown… and the first death-knell can be heard.

Now, I wonder who would originate such an atrocity upon a person or society?  Can you say – the devil.

Case in point:  I recently revisited the subject of Janteloven with a Norwegian friend who not only affirmed its presence in their culture, but its diabolic nature and impact on their people.  Janteloven, or The law of Jante (pronounced yente) is seldom spoken about but widely practiced in the Scandanavian countries.  It works as a policing system so that if anyone should attempt to excel in the society they are immediately met with this:

The law of Jante ’10 commandments’

1.    Thou shalt not believe thou art something.
2.    Thou shalt not believe thou art as good as we.
3.    Thou shalt not believe thou art more wise than we.
4.    Thou shalt not fancy thyself better than we.
5.    Thou shalt not believe thou knowest more than we.
6.    Thou shalt not believe thou art greater than we.
7.    Thou shalt not believe thou amountest to anything.
8.    Thou shalt not laugh at us.
9.    Thou shalt not believe that anyone is concerned with thee.
10.  Thou shalt not believe thou canst teach us anything.

and sometimes an 11th one is added, if necessary, as a warning…

11. Maybe you don’t think I know a few things about you?

How’s that for encouragement!  If a person’s own failures aren’t enough discouragement, then living under this oppressiveness would certainly finish you off.  These heart-killing beliefs are embodiments of the devil’s mission to “rob, kill and destroy” any courage or incentive one may have.  Just like Adam and Eve, many have unwittingly (at least initially) succumbed to this ‘ministry of condemnation and accusation’… or worse yet become instruments of its propagation.

But thanks be to God who sent Jesus to set the captives free!!!

Grace sets us free from the “law of sin and death” (Rms 8:2)… and from the “ministry of condemnation” (II Cor 3:9).  Grace is God’s answer to the enemy’s barrage of accusation.  We quickly acknowledge our failings, and just as quickly reaffirm our righteousness in Jesus.  Righteousness through Grace lifts us up above the fray… up above our own negative self-introspection… up above the devil’s ministry of condemnation.  We must “set our affections on things above, not on things of this earth” (Col 3:2), where Christ (and we) sit at the right hand of God.

So let it be known that we now hereby present these upgraded perspectives and truths which directly trump the devil’s condemnation. (Each one is a superior truth to overcome the lies of Jante.)

Grace’s 10 hope-filled truths

1.     You are the righteousness of God in Christ
2.     You are the apple of God’s eye
3.     You have the mind of Christ
4.     You’ve been given all things freely to enjoy
5.     The Anointing teaches you all things
6.     You are more than a conqueror
7.     God’s plans hope and a good future for you
8.     Your gentleness will be evident to all
9.     Kings will come to the brightness of your rising
10.   The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom

and for extra measure…

11.   No weapon formed against you will prosper

Be encouraged: Jesus loves you dearly and has empowered you to live well above the devil’s lies.  You are a winner!!!

— MLH

I Will Worship My Sin No Longer!

18 Oct

I will not worship my sin any longer.  For too long sin has required my attention, my energy and my sin management.  In fact it has demanded that my very identity be established by it… (e.g. if I sin then I must not be righteous).  I have naively and gullibly bowed the knee too long to a liar and a thief.  No more worship of my sin!!  My identity will be established upon what Jesus did for me and what he declares over me… I am righteous, perfect, complete, ascended, etc…  I will worship Him only!!

–MLH