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.

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 discomfort with their own status quo, they salve these feelings by inflicting some sort of warning shot ‘over the bow’ of the excel-er.  Then when the ‘police-er’ missteps in some manner, the new warning shot gets fired from a new ‘police-er’ to corral him back in line. 

I wonder if this is akin to communism’s, ‘big brother’ is watching?  Diablo himself has conned not only the demons of hell to assist him, but he’s conned many fragile and insecure ‘soldiers’ to round out his boldfaced, full-frontal attack on humanity.  

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 (he lives in Norway) 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 and embrace 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

Quote: Grace in Brief

11 Oct

“You have been raised to new life. This is not more of the same; it is brand new zoe-life. Christ is your life” – (Col 3:4)

The grace cure is greater than the disease.  One sin cell infected the entire human race with the fatal condition of sinfulness; grace not only cures us it inoculates us against re-infection.  We have been made new.  We have been rewired to resist sin and please the Father. Grace doesn’t just remove all traces of past sins, it empowers us to sin no more!  Grace is both favor and divine influence through the Holy Spirit.  We’re not just freed captives; we’re kings and priests called to reign with Him.  This is not some reference to the hereafter for Paul says we will “reign in life” (v.17) meaning here and now.  Through the power of the Spirit we can reign over forms of death such as sickness and all the things that lead to sickness (e.g., bitterness, unforgiveness).  We are no longer victims; we are more than conquerors through Him who called us.

Jesus has not returned us to the Garden, He has taken us to heaven (Eph 2:6)!  From the position of rest we rule and reign with Him here on earth. – by Paul Ellis

From GraceQuotes.com  (Oct 4, 2013)

Adapted from Last Adam’s Greater Work (2012)

(The above brief lines sum up the hottest topics that I currently enjoy speaking about. – MLH)

He Is ‘I Am’ In You

8 Sep

The Fall dealt us a near mortal flaw… we became blinded from the truth of who we really are.  Because we believed the Serpent’s lie, our perception of reality was reduced to mere human status… without the spiritual God-type dimension.  This made us scramble for our own protection and provision… we felt like orphans under the heavy hand of a distant, uncaring and hard God.  What a fall from the truth!

What was the former reality that got hidden from us?  Our original design and glory.  But through Christ, who now lives in us, that design and glory has been returned to us.  He is my hope of wearing glory… and being glorious.  

“…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Col 1:26-27

What can we do to discover and receive this mystery?  We must believe in order to see and understand:

“whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” – II Cor 4:4

Did you see, we were blinded LEST this awesome gospel of the GLORY of Christ would SHINE ON US?  And who did this?  The god of this age.  There is NO WAY he wants us to know that we are the bearers of the glory of God.  Anyone who does not believe, will be “blinded”. 

But first, we must believe in order to even understand.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” – Heb 11:3

Isn’t it interesting that we must have faith before we can even understand.  So what do we have to believe and have faith in?  We must dis-believe the devil’s lie about us and we must believe the truth of who we are in God’s eyes.

Take a look at a profound illustration of this blindness at work in the ten spies.  They dis-believed God’s promise for them and instead of seeing themselves as God saw them, this is what they saw.

“And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” – Num 13:33

But let’s see what the enemy actually saw:

(Rahab said) to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.  Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” – Josh 2:9-13

Can you believe the crazy diabolical lie the devil had perpetrated upon the ten spies… and all of mankind!!!  The fact is, God’s people (that includes us) caused fear in the enemy’s heart.  But we bought into the lie that we were failures… and unworthy… and that we weren’t made in the image of God… and the wearers of God’s glory.  Unbelief keeps us from seeing and understanding who we REALLY are.

Where did we exchange the truth for a lie?  And what lies have we believed?

The Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things.” – Jer 16:19  

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;” – Rom 1:16-28   

What truth should we have believed?… that His glory is revealed in us:

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Col 1:27  

This mystery was always valid and available… it was just “hidden”.  A few in history have searched for it, ‘seen it’, and even re-found it.  And for some of these, the reality they regained in God was so powerful that they didn’t have to experience death.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth:” – Col 3:1-5  

“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isa 40:5

The revelation of Grace releases the latent glory of God in us.  Our believing leads to transformation.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Rom 12:2

John G. Lake said, “The only difference between Christ and us was His understanding of who He was.”  So where do we go to get convinced of this glory of God… and how do we know what this glory looks like?  Just go to the mirror… the waters of reflection… the Word.  Whenever we see Jesus in the Word… we’re looking at ourselves.  According to Roms 3:22, there is no difference between the righteousness of Jesus and our righteousness.  Whatever is true of Jesus is true of me.  Wow!

Now, that’s something to shout about!  I’m declaring war on all thoughts that reduce me down to a mere human and put off my glory until some ‘pie in the sky’ date.  Christ lives in me and I am being transformed (even transfigured) into His same image, from glory to glory.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” – II Cor 3:18

He is ‘I AM’ in you.  Believe it!

KittenLookingNMirror2— MLH

The Changing Face of Christianity

31 Aug

Shift happens!

It has always happened… and it’s happening now.  This current shift / change is not your average garden variety, though.  It is an epic change from one Biblical age to the next age.  Sound too grandiose?  Listen to what the Bible says about this:

“… that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” – Eph 2:7

According to this verse, there must be at least two more ages beyond the age in which the book of Ephesians was written.  And so, even if you don’t think it’s probable, it’s still possible to have an age shift in our day.

So what are the hallmarks at the transition of ages?

I believe a change of ages always involves a radical shift from what God was doing… to what His new order of things.  For example, take a look at the change of ages from OT to NT… from Law to Grace.  It wasn’t just a little tweak of how we do things, it was a major revamping of much that we knew and held on to as sacred in the Old Testament… laws, sacrifices, curses, religious orders, our relationship with God, etc.  ALL those and so much more were antiquated and trumped with the better, when the ages transitioned.  In fact, if you held onto the past norms, you became an enemy to God’s new way.  Hmmmm.  Serious business.

So, if old values and systems get put on the chopping block when an age ends, what could we expect to be forfeited and replaced in this current shift change?  And what will the new values and systems look like?

Would we be able to see it?

Do we think we would have recognized and embraced the monumental shift from BC to AD?  The very best religious scholars and leaders didn’t… but strangely, a few gnarly fishermen, tax collectors and fringe guys did.  They were invited, saw, believed and became forerunners of the new age.  But most other likely candidates missed it completely… and worse yet, became an enemy to the change of the ages.  So assuming that we’re in for another shift change, what makes us think we would recognize the shift and embrace it?  Would it be because we honor and go with the flow of popular opinion… or because we hold to the ‘old time religion’ tenets… or because that’s what I was taught as a child?  Yeh, that will guarantee it, for sure (jesting)!  Unfortunately, that didn’t work so well for the religious ‘scholars’ in Jesus’ day.  

Actually, a simple childlike heart has the most likely prospects to help us hear, embrace and being able to adapt to the changes.  You see, a child has the least to lose and may be more sensitive to Father’s overtures of love and guidance.  And maybe that is just one of the things Jesus meant when He said, 

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matt 18:3

Are there any indicators of impending change?

In my opinion there are MANY indicators… even beyond the multitude of Biblical eschatological passages that are used so prolifically.  (Sorry to say, those passages get re-applied in a different way about every 5 to 20 years when of another new epic global event is reported in the news.) One of the hugest indicators I know is something very obvious to us all, and one which has powerful historical precedent.  That is, the global prayer movement

Throughout all of Biblical history, when God’s people called out to Him, He answered.  Just think about the little phrase, “And they cried to the Lord.”  What happened in the very next phrase or verse?  It was, “And God heard their cries” and sent a deliverer, judge, prophet, king, etc to extract them out of their distress.  In keeping with this truth, consider this: There are more people praying publicly and privately on the earth right now than at any other time in all of history.  And what is God’s historical response? …HIS INTERVENTION!  In my opinion, this is a most compelling indicator and it isn’t even an ‘end-times’ prophecy Bible verse.  This is huge!

BTW – I think God may have a different perspective on the prayer movement than we’ve had.  We thought we were going to be more self-disciplined… more spiritual… help God out… and do Kingdom stuff.  But I wonder if God’s view was more on trying to get us to spend time with Him… so we would get to know His heart… so that we could hear His voice better… so we could move with Him when He makes the age shift.  Maybe the prayer movement was all about relationship versus working hard.  You see, if we were still steeped in our ‘religious man’ strength (E.g. religious dogmas, traditions and mindsets), we wouldn’t likely be able to turn the corner with Him when we have to lay some things down.  But since we’ve prayed long enough to know that we can’t force God, we’re beginning to settle down and just let Him be Father and God.  We’re beginning to just agree with His Word and heart of love for us.  We’re beginning to realize that it really isn’t “by our works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us.”  Wow, now that really is Good News!  To think… all the while He just wanted to spend time with us… so we wouldn’t miss the next step of the journey. 

A great prophecy

In 1982 in Cairo, Egypt, the Lord spoke to me about the end-time outpouring of the Spirit… The Spirit said, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity on earth in one generation.” – Mike Bickle (Founder of International House of Prayer – Kansas City)

I’m certain that we had no idea what was in store for us when we first heard this prophecy.  I now believe that it is exponentially larger and more impacting than we ever imagined.  Although the Word of God and the central tenets of the Gospel are unshakable, I wonder which pet peripheral sacred-cow doctrines and practices will get sacrificed upon the altar of the emerging new expression of true Godliness in a new age?  It’s inevitable, you know… it really is.  If we’re going to believe this prophecy and all other indicators, it will mean serious change for all of us.  And FYI – Historically, it’s usually traumatic for ‘settlers’ and scary exciting for the frontiersman.

Describe the current shift
The moniker over this emerging age has yet to be determined.  Will it be called the Grace Age, the Kingdom Age, the Sonship Age, the Kingship Age, the Glory of God Age…?  We’ll have to wait and see.  But already there are a few overt evidences of change… and they’re obviously changes for the better.  I’ll leave you with just a few.

Big Picture
The goodness of God is being exalted as a supreme tenet
Many ‘old time religion’ tenets are being upgraded

Our Identity
Harried ‘orphan’ Christians are becoming happy beloved sons
Always-’do-good’ servants are becoming peace-filled bosom friends with God
Spiritual beggars are becoming spiritual kings
Belittling lies about our identity are being obliterated
An insecure salvation is now becoming an unshakable position in Christ
Fearful sin conscious saints are now secure in righteousness
Sin management is replaced with confident rest in Jesus’ righteousness
The Gospel is becoming the ‘unbelievably’ Good News

God’s Identity and Nature
Onerous lies about Father God are being exposed
An uncaring distant God becomes a loving committed Father
Working hard for His acceptance is being replaced with resting in His love
‘Sweat’ is now understood as the result of the curse
Rest in Jehovah Jireh’s provision is popping the anxiety and striving bubble

Now and the Future
Traditional eschatology is being trumped by fresh revelation
Imminent doom is replaced by victorious future
Fear and hiding are replaced with courage and anticipation
Little-remnant hide-out mentality is replaced by expectant kingly ruling
Darker and darker worldview is replaced with ever increasing Kingdom
Future theologies are becoming now theologies
Heaven realities postponed until after death are being realized now
Some ‘millennial’ Kingdom theologies are being experienced now

Our Position and Prayer Posture
Desperate beggarly intercession becomes confident kingly declaration
Praying from earth toward Heaven is trumped by praying from Heaven toward earth
Emphasis shifting from praying TO God… to praying WITH God
We’re not praying FOR victory… we’re praying FROM victory

How’s that for starters?  Now, you list the paradigm shifts that you’re experiencing:

As Mario Bros. says, “Here we gooooo!!!!!”

– MLH