March 27 2017

The Human Soul And Free Will: God’s Design

free willBefore we were born, before the foundations of the earth were laid, and before time even was, we were with God. We are not here on earth by accident or by God’s cruel intentions. We are not just lost and waiting for someone to come save us. We are spirits, created by by God; but God did not create our spirits at the moment of conception. He created our spirits and prepared us beforehand to come here to the earth to fulfill the plans He has for each of us. He chose each of us according to His will to walk with Him here on this earth and have a depth of intimacy that is only possible in this earthly tent.

As a human, we not only have a spirit, but we have a soul. Our soul consists of our bodies, minds and emotions. Our soul gives us new ways to experience life. We have access to a great depth of feelings such as love and joy, and we also have senses so we can experience pleasure and passion. These are all wonderful gifts from God that help us to understand who He is and to know Him better. We can use our bodies and minds to know God, to experience Him, to worship Him and to partner with Him. That is so much more than we could do if we were only a spirit. What a wonderful gift God has given us by giving us this life!

We have such a rich and wonderful experience prepared for us by God, gifted through the earth, all creation, our souls, relationships, and so much more. These are all things that God intended to be good and pure, just as they first were when God created everything. Adam and Eve had the pinnacle of what God purposed for us, but it was through sin and evil that they fell far away from our original design. In order to truly experience and know God, He had to gift us with free will. Love is being surrendered and vulnerable, and in order to really experience God’s love fully, He needed for us to decide to choose Him first.

Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.

Isaiah 43:7

For some, free will seems more like a curse than a blessing. They see that they have made mistake after mistake in their lives and they want nothing more than to surrender their free will completely to God, in order to be “better” or “good”. Yet it isn’t our free will that needs to be surrendered to find God, but our hearts. Our hearts are the filter in which we see and experience the world around us, including God. So when we hold back our hearts from God, we will find that struggle to have intimacy and knowledge of Him difficult.

Love does not control, nor does it hate, but because we partnered with sin in the Garden, we have allowed our worldviews to be tainted by these things. We no longer see things through the eyes of innocence and truth, but we are jaded by the evil on the world instead. We have allowed our senses to be overcome with pain and our bodies to be numbed so we no longer have to feel that pain. We have filled our minds with lies of the devil and allowed him to penetrate into that sacred place that was to be holy for God: our hearts.

The devil has one purpose, and that is to steal us from God. He has our entire lifetime here to do his dirty work and convince us that everything we should know about God is in fact all lies. Just like in the Garden, when Adam and Eve allowed the devil to convince them into believing what they knew of God was a lie, and what Satan offered was so much sweeter. They accepted that lie and paid the highest price of all: alignment with the devil and his will and plan for them.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:12

The devil has held us captive for thousands of years. We have strayed so far away from the truth of who we are and who God created us to be, that many Christians live in fear daily. They fear sin, the devil, evil, death, judgement and condemnation, and even fear if they are truly saved. Meanwhile the devil is sitting back laughing because he thinks he has really succeeded in his plan to destroy our knowledge of the Truth of God.

God did not just create us and leave us here on earth with the devil. What kind of loving Father would place His children in a world full of evil, run by the devil, with only the hope that maybe they will accept Jesus and go to heaven. What kind of plan does that sounds like for the Ultimate Creator and Almighty God? Sounds like a slick deception if you ask me. No. This brings me back to the truth that God created us before time began as spirit, and gifted us with bodies on this earth. We are already spirit who knows God and we already have that hope built up inside of us. So that no matter what deceptions the devil has up his sleeve, we still have an unshakable connection with God that can never be destroyed. Except by the fires of hell.

The ultimate battle here on earth is for our free will. The devil has come to steal, kill and destroy, but God has come to offer us life. A life that is aligning our free will, with the will of the Father. When Jesus came to earth, He laid down all of His glory and power so that He could become like us. He submitted His will to the will of the Father. Jesus could have at any given moment said “I’m done with this” and went back to His throne in heaven. Yet He continued to pour out His life like a drink offering, all the way to the cross.

And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:35-36

We see how difficult it is for us to lay down our lives and free will to God, but imagine how much harder it was for God in the flesh to lay down all of His power to become nothing. And He did all of this for us. Not only to give us a free ticket to salvation, but also to model His life in a way that we can now emulate. All glory and honor goes to the Father when we lay down our free will and align it with the will of the Father. And that glory flows through us like water, filling up every place that our feet take us in this life. It is the highest honor any person can be crowned with.

The devil may have done a mighty job in your life to turn your free will away from the Father and towards the Father of Lies, but that does not mean a thing to our God. He is so much greater and stronger than any of the evil that has been perpetrated on you in your life. He is going to take every bit of it and use it for your good. He is going to use to enhance your journey into walking out the call He has over your life. All you have to do is begin by agreeing with who He is. He is good.

Let God’s goodness wash over you right now. Let His love envelope you, to the very core of who you are. Allow the Father to take you back to the place before time where you can remember being with Him, in His arms. His love is pure and holy, washing over you with His loving embrace. Begin to let Him show you who He created you to be, and align your heart back to His.

God is not angry with any one of us for walking away from Him. He is not even hurt. He understands why we do what we do, and all of the choices that we have made, even more than we understand them. He is waiting to help us gain insight into our choices and reasons for not surrendering our hearts fully, and to bring us freedom. We are His, and He is ours. Forever. It is time to take back what has been stolen, and bring it before the Father for restoration. He is saying, ‘come home.’

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

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February 27 2017

Your Purpose And Call For The Kingdom of God

your purposeBefore the beginning of life as we know it, we were one with the Father. We made our home in Him, as we awaited the time when we would be called. Each of our spirits was joyful and full of love in heaven, expectantly awaiting what lie ahead of us. The chance to choose to come here to earth to fulfill your purpose. The purpose that God created us for, and the reason why we are here.

Each person on this earth is here for a specific reason and purpose. We have been called out by God, chosen by Him, before time began, to partner with Jesus Christ in this world. Each person’s call is unique, and each person’s journey to get there is a part of their story. How long have you wondered ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Why was I born?’ Isn’t it the ultimate question we all spend our lives searching to find the answer?

When I first came into a relationship with Christ, I felt that my questions had been answered. I felt quite sure that the whole reason I was born was simple: to love God and to know Him. While this is true, this is only a foundational truth; a truth meant to ultimately stand on as we continue to seek our reason and your purpose here. It is a very important part of why we are here, and without knowing God and experiencing His love, it is impossibly to move forward in your purpose.

 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace

Galatians 1:15

As I began my journey of inner healing and found out that terrible abuse and more had happened to me during my lifetime, all my questions of ‘Why?’ came flooding back in. What kind of God would allow this to happen? If I was here to love God, then what was really the point? Because loving God had only brought me a lifetime of pain and hell. It was not ultimately worth it in the end to even live through such hell.

That is when God began to give me a glimpse of a much bigger picture of my life. I was not simply born just to live and know God. I was born to serve the purpose that He called me out to. Not only that, but it was the entire reason I was here and had suffered. I began to have hope that all my pain and despair in life were not for nothing. That indeed there was something much greater that I couldn’t fully grasp yet.

This new found understanding helped me to continue on my healing journey and helped me to see God in new ways. Many times God has brought me into His throne room and sat me down on His lap. It is in these moments that I have experienced not only His amazing love, but also where He has shown me great truths about my life. The Father has sat me on His lap and shown me exactly how I came to be here and why.

 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will

Ephesians 1:4-5

As He sat me on His lap I saw it played out before me like a movie. My spirit in heaven before I was ever born. My spirit knew the Father and loved Him more than anything. My spirit was in heaven and happy and full of love and life. And when my Father asked me if I was ready to go to the earth, I literally jumped up and down for joy. Yet it didn’t end there. My Papa told me He had to show me something before I made the decision to leave Him and go to earth.

The Father showed my spirit the great attack that would come, even at the moment of conception. He showed me the war that would come throughout my life, as well as the pain and the torture. However, He also showed me how that was a part of my covert operation to infiltrate the darkness, and come out the other side. That I would have the chance to use all that I learned in the enemy camp to fight the darkness, side by side with Jesus Christ.

When my spirit saw this pain and devastation, I felt fear and terror within me. Yet I was resolved, because my love for my Papa was so great, and my trust for Him so wide, that I knew I would be OK. I knew that I would be protected. I knew that I would return home to Him, unharmed. So I said yes. Not just yes, but an enthusiastic yes, jumping at the chance to partner with my Daddy. I was overjoyed at the chance.

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5

As soon as my spirit left heaven, the attack came in the form of generational curses and blood rights. Even in the womb I was attacked, yet God sent angels to protect me, even there. Throughout my life God has sent angels to teach me, and Jesus to protect me. Even though my choice to infiltrate darkness has been hard, it has not brought me down. I have made my way out, and I am here, in the arms of the Father. I trust Him and I believe in Him, and I am willingly partnering with Him to fulfill my call.

As The Father showed me all of this, I was in shock. It seemed too good to be true. My life was not a waste. It had purpose and great meaning. I was not beaten and tortured and filled with darkness for nothing. It was to help people. To bring them hope. It took time and more experiences with God to further understand and digest this truth, but the seed was there, in my heart. And from there it began to bloom into something beautiful.

No one is here on this earth for nothing. No matter where you are or what you are doing, just like me you had a moment where you too sat with your Daddy and were given the choice. The choice to fulfill your purpose and partner with Jesus in the most amazing ways. It does not matter what the devil does, or what role he played in trying to steal you away. The Father is going to do everything He can, without violating your free will, to bring you right back home where you belong.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9

All things we have suffered and sacrificed will be rewarded and turned around for our good. Just knowing that I am not here on this earth for nothing has brought me the greatest of comfort. Our life here may start roughly, or may feel like it has been full of torment, but we do not have to finish this race in vain. We can persevere and finish this race with all glory and honor from the Lord, our God. It all starts with a choice.

Do we want to believe that God has chosen us and specifically called us out for a purpose? Do we want to do the work to grow in our relationship with Jesus, so we can build a firm foundation of His love that we can grow on? Do we want to do the work it takes to bring healing into our broken souls, so we can began to live for the purpose that God has made for us? If we can answer yes, even if it’s only to one question at a time, we can do this. We can run this race well.

No one on this earth is a failure. While we may not all reach the place where we understand our purpose and reason for being here, that does not make us failures. We will still be rewarded, because we said yes to God’s call. We were willing to fight the fight, and come here to do a good work. That alone is enough reason for God to reward us with much grace and mercy. We see God as this far away God that is so uninvolved in our lives, letting the world go to hell. When all the time He is right there with us, and has never left our side.

And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 1:22

Our Father is a good Father. He is full of love. This world is a temporary place in which we come to fulfill our purpose for being here. Yet our lives do not end there. No matter what, we have the choice to choose Jesus and at the end of this physical life, we will continue on back to heaven to rejoice in the arms of the Father. We will forget all of our pain and strife and hell. We will cry no more tears, but instead know that we were faithful servants to our Lord.

Unfortunately some people do turn to evil and do not turn back in their lives. They make a covenant with evil and refuse the covenant they made with God. It takes a great, great deal of evil in order for this to happen. Many, many people will be saved, and most likely more will be saved than not. God is willing that none should perish. He is always at work in each of us to ensure we can use our free will to chose truth, love, joy and hope over evil. No matter how hard the devil tries to destroy us.

I pray that today you receive sweet revelation from the Father of His love, and that you continue to build yourself up in Him. Without knowing God as a Father, and experiencing His love, it is difficult to come to the place where we can experience this level of depth in Him. God wants very much to share all of this revelation with you about your purpose in this life, and when you are ready, you can be sure He will. Trust in Him, and never let go of hope, because this world is waiting for you to walk out your purpose. For some, it really is as simple as breathing, because our breathe saturates the air around us with the love of the Father.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5:4

January 23 2017

God’s Promise For The Broken Hearted

god's promiseAs I have been walking through my journey of inner healing  I have had a lot of difficult days. When I have my inner healing session every week, the Holy Spirit always helps me to recall memories that have been blocked out of my conscious mind due to severe trauma. The purpose for this is to continue to break off rights that were given to me through these satanic rituals, which I brought me continued oppression and allowed me to live in false beliefs. These false beliefs have wreaked havoc in my soul for my entire life.

For instance, the beliefs that I am fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, and a piece of you know what, were things that have been spoken over me as a child in these rituals. They have been beaten into me. I have internalized them so strongly that I didn’t even realize they were there. I mean, I realized that I constantly beat myself up, telling myself I was fat and ugly and a stupid idiot, but I didn’t think twice about saying those things to myself daily. It just was true. It was my reality.

This is not the reality anyone is born with however. When we are created in heaven by our loving Father, we are bestowed with all the love and wonder and beauty of God Himself. We are a glorious treasure in His eyes. He is so proud of us, as He sends us to this earth to be a mighty soldier for His Kingdom. Yet the devil does not want to allow this. So he works tirelessly to take every good thing from God from us. To tear us down into a million pieces, just like he had done to me.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

When a child experiences any level of hate, trauma or abandonment in their lives, no matter how great or small, it causes a ripple effect throughout their entire lives, unless the problems it creates are addressed and healed. The human brain is designed to be relational, and to thrive off other human interactions. We were designed to be in relationship with our parents and family, which is a way to teach us to grow in relationship with the Triune God, and the Body of Christ. When these relationships are abusive and traumatic, it shapes the development of the brain, which leads to change in the normal ways of emotional, behavioral and cognitive functioning.

Many people are very unaware of what abuse actually is. When you grow up in an environment, it is all you know, and that is what it is normal to you. Most people who have been abused have a hard time seeing it, as it has become accepted as a normal part of life to them. Abuse comes not in just being sexually accosted, or violently treated, but it has many levels. God did not intend for any of His children to live in anything other than love, nurture, acceptance and His goodness. Yet as humans we have taken our proclivity for sin and used it to create generation after generation of harm, violence, punishment and hate.

“How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words?”

Job 19:2

Please read this article for more detailed information on the different types of abuse and what it looks like. As I was growing up I was absolutely miserable. I hated myself, my life, and I wanted to die. I believed death was the only solution to my hellish misery that God had allotted me, and I coveted it like a prized possession. Yet as I grew into my teen years and adult years, I began to make excuses for my life.

I continued to tell myself that my life was not that bad. That it could have been worse. That many people had it worse. I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to come out of things a better person, not a weak victim.It was so easy for me to tell myself that any abuse I did remember was OK. It allowed me to believe I was healing and forgiving. The only thing it allowed me to do was live in continued denial about the depth of my pain and the effects on my shattered soul.

I truly did not believe that many of the experiences I had in my life were abuse. So once the Holy Spirit began to bring memories back for me, I began to realize that my life was nothing like the picture I had created for myself. I also realized that all the pretenses I had created to comfort myself were not only keeping in bondage, but also keeping me from freely experiencing God’s promise for me.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

We experience the love of God to degree we allow it in. Our perception of God comes through a filter of how we see ourselves, and vice versa. So when the core of us believes we are ugly, or stupid, or worthless, then we have a very hard time believing God could ever love us, or see us as good. So we reject God because we believe that He has allowed pain and terrible things in this world, and a God like that cannot possibly be good.

It has taken me over a year of healing to come to the place where I finally started getting to some deep roots of self hate. I honestly could not believe I had self hate, even though I could see it clear as day. The core of who I am believed the lies the devil had sown into me, and therefore became a part of my internal belief system. God has been reaching out to me my entire life, waiting to comfort me and bring me His peace, yet I had held out my hands to stop myself from receiving it. My core beliefs told me I did not deserve anything good.

The beautiful thing is, that God wastes nothing. Every bad thing the devil does is nothing compared to what God can do. As a matter of fact, God loves to take things of evil against us, things that were meant to harm us, and turn them around into miracles that glorify the true love and goodness of His heart. Just as Satan asked permission to sift Peter like wheat. This even caused Peter to deny Christ, not once, but three times. Yet God took that act and turned it into a display of His love.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

Peter was not only readily accepted and forgiven for his rebellion, but also used to bring many, many more into God’s Kingdom. That is the awesome love of our Father. He is good. And He will use every bad thing, every pain, every act of evil, even to the smallest degree, to turn it around and bring His goodness and love into your life. All of these things that have brought you pain and frustration are going to be used to bring such a measure of love into this world, that it will bring you to your knees.

We cannot possible fathom the fullness of God’s promise until we begin to surrender all of our inner most recesses to Jesus. It took me thirsty six years to come to the point where I could even begin to surrender my broken soul to Jesus. I had so much pain and hate in my soul, that it was absolutely unbearable to uncover it, even to Jesus, who is the safest haven that there is. Yet slowly, as He brought me healing, I began to see His trustworthiness. I knew that I could keep going deeper, that I could keep revealing the secret things inside of me, and that Jesus would indeed work these things for my good.

And Jesus will work all things for your good to, if you only will allow Him. You do not have to wait to surrender your heart to Christ. If you are struggling, if you are in pain, if you have lost your identity in Christ, your way to God, your desire to live, or your joy and peace, then you know that Jesus is speaking to you. Come to Him. Trust Him. He is good. He loves you. You, Beloved, are His hearts desire. To be with you, to talk to you, to heal you. Freedom is here. Are you willing to step into it? Jesus is here.

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

2 Timothy 1:8

January 16 2017

Encouragement For The Battle Weary

battleToday was a very difficult day for me. The minute I woke up I felt the pressure over my head squeezing me and began to pray. I tried to go through my normal morning routines, but before long my youngest two sons were out of control. They were screaming at each other, insulting each other, threatening violence against each each other, and even talking about wanting to die. I was barely able to hold it together. I was shaking on the inside, trying the best I could to not completely fall apart. I could get no discernment on why I felt so terrible, so all I could do was to hold on and say the name of Jesus.

It turns out that my household was under attack from a territorial spirit, who is on assignment, using generational blood rights through my husbands family line. I am no stranger to the war the devil has been waging against us. Some days I can stand up under the weight, but today I was being crushed.  The war was more than I could bear and I just wanted peace in my household, and in my soul.

As I cried out to God, I pleaded with Him to just make the war stop. Doesn’t He know I’m not strong enough to carry this load anymore? Doesn’t He understand that it is just too much for one person to bear? Tears stream down my cheeks as I pray to not feel like a pile of crap for one day. I don’t want to be this person anymore; I just want to be normal.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

I do not tell you this because I am looking for sympathy. No, I am telling you this, so that you can know you are not alone. I know you feel like you are the only one fighting what seems like an endless battle; but you are not. You do not have to be strong enough. You were never made to carry the weight of this war on your own.

I have tried very hard to be strong enough, but I have always failed. I have tried very hard to carry myself through these difficult days, but I just cannot do it. I know there are many more just like me, holding our torches in the darkness. We are the light bearers, a beacon to the world, calling out to rise up in the midst of our pain and shame. Yet we have to remember one thing, we are not holding our own lights; we are holding the Light of The World. Jesus.

Imagine what it was like for Christ on His last day here in the flesh. He was betrayed by his friends. He was arrested and falsely accused. He was publicly humiliated, beaten to a bloody pulp, and forced to carry His own cross to His murder. He had His belongings stolen from Him, as He was mocked and laughed at. He was separated from God the Father and had to experience death and hell. And He did all of this for you.

Jesus saw your pain and your sins as He lay dying on that cross. He knew each burden we would have to bear, each shameful act that was perpetrated on us. That is why He chose to suffer as he did. Not because He had to, but because He loved you. So whatever we are going through right now, no matter how hard it is or how bad it feels, we can stand under the weight of it, because Jesus Christ is holding us up.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

In this world we are blessed with the gift of a body and mind and emotions. These things make up our soul, which is an integral part of our experience here. However, it is not the compass that should guide us on this journey of life. Our souls are subject to many things in this world. Pain, suffering, abandonment, rejection, fear, terror, and so much more. It is through these many experiences of life that we begin to allow our souls to mold and shape who we are. We get lost, forgetting that we were not made as a soul, but as a spirit.

It is our spirits that reside in heavenly places with Christ right now. And it is our spirits that return to God after we depart from our bodies, leaving behind all of our earthly pains and problems. Once we are in heaven, we will not even remember what we struggled through on this earth. This are heavenly truths that God teaches us in His Word, and these are truths we must instill as deeply within our souls as possible.

We cannot allow our souls to dictate our lives, because when we do we are disconnecting from these important truths. We are one with God, who lives inside of us. We are spirit, created for eternity in communion with our Creator. We are children of the Most High, who calls us Beloved. We are are royal priesthood, called out of darkness to be the glory of God the Father.

We were created through Jesus and for Jesus, and when we try to remove Jesus from our lives, true suffering begins. We listen to the lies of the world: you are strong and independent. You don’t need anyone. You can do this on your own. You are a physical being in a physical world. Experience everything the flesh has to offer, and think of consequences later. Do as you please in every moment, and don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

This is why we have one of the most powerful tools in the world to use against the lies of the world and the deceit of our hearts. The Word of God. Jesus is the Word, and His word will always hold true. It will never change, nor will it ever fail us. When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, it can never be taken from us. God’s Truth is our key to renewing our minds daily and bring healing and transformation into our hearts.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4;16-18

Whatever lies we have believed, whatever pain has been inflicted upon us, can all be healed and soothed by the truths and promises given to us from our Heavenly Father. We need to begin to build up a firm foundation on the Rock of Jesus Christ, so that when everything around us becomes unstable or when we feel shaken to the very core, we can know that none of that matters in the scope of eternity.

Healing is a process and a journey, one that can feel slow and painful, but will always be rewarded in the end. No matter how we feel we need to set all of that aside, and dig in deeper to the heavenly hope that created us. While growing roots into Jesus Christ may not stop the war, it will certainly bring you strength that you otherwise would never have. We are not called to find safety in the midst of peace, but in the midst of the battle raging all around us. Safety is the presence of Jesus in our daily battles, not the absence of war.

Right now, Jesus is calling you out of your hiding place, and saying ‘Rise up Mighty Warrior!’. You have been laying on the threshing floor, waiting for your death to come, but it is time to rise up. You are not dead, but alive in Christ. Rise up and take your rightful place in God’s mighty Kingdom, as a rightful heir and son or daughter. Take up your sword and fight. You were not called to a life of fear, but to a life of courage and honor for the Lord.

I personally know how difficult this battle is. You are not alone in this fight. We are all in this together, and more importantly, Jesus is here with us in the midst of it all. No matter what we feel, no matter what we see, Jesus has promised us this. You are not here by accident or by mistake. You were chosen for such a time as this, and through the strength and might of our Lord and Savior, you will overcome and persevere.

So when the battle becomes more than you can bear, rise up in the knowledge of God’s Truth and love, and with faith continue the fight.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

 

December 12 2016

Keep Christ In Christianity

Today as I drove by the little church in my neighborhood, I just had to read their sign and laugh. They change it up often, usually to something humorous and thought provoking. Today the sign read “Keep Christ in Christianity”. I thought it was going to read something like “Keep Christ in Christmas”, so I was surprised by the statement. Why would a church have to tell Christians to keep Christ in them?

I have thought for a very long time about what the definition of Christian is. Many people call themselves Christian, and each one has a different set of standards why which they determine there are Christian. Some people simply call themselves Christian because they believe in God. Some because they go to church regularly. Some people say they are Christian because they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and have accepted His free gift of salvation.

If we look at the definition of Christian here is what see according to dictionary.com:

1. of, relating to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings:
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ :
3. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike:
4. decent; respectable:
5. human; not brutal; humane:

So as we can see, Christian is a term that is quite broad in it’s definition. It can refer to following Jesus Christ, or it can refer to being a decent and respectable human being. In the eyes of the world, this is how it is seen. There are other religions such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Christian Science and so on that claim to base their religion on some of the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are also other religions, such as Muslim, that include Jesus Christ as an authority figure in them. So technically by these definitions, we can call these religions Christian as well.

So what exactly does it mean to follow Christ? Does it simply mean you go to church and try to be a good person? That you read the Bible and conform to a certain standard that Christians certainly must adhere too? It seems to mean different things for different people. Even amongst Christians there is a battle over who is a true Christian and really saved. Some would say that if you live a life with certain sins, then you aren’t really a Christian. Others would say that all you need to do is love Jesus and you are Christian.

The problem with being called a Christian is you fall into many religious traps. Being Christian may well mean you believe in Jesus Christ, but it also means that you are putting yourself into a box, one that is there to define you and allow the world to make it’s judgement upon you. As the world sees it, Christians are good people who have good moral standards and help people, but are also very judgmental and condemning to anyone who isn’t Christian or Christian enough in their eyes. It is a double edged sword.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.

1 Corinthians 3:18

I have seen Christians fight with each other on any topic that can possibly be debated upon. However, the Bible makes it clear we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this world; aka Satan. Satan has been using the words of God to turn us against God since the Garden of Eden. He tempted mankind into sin so easily, and even used scripture to try to turn Jesus Christ Himself. Satan absolutely loves religion, and loves to use it against God’s people.

The early church was very simple. It was people who loved Jesus and wanted to spread the Gospel to everyone they could. They gathered together to pray and study God’s word daily. They helped each other and took care of each other. No one was in need or want. They were doing life together in order to create unity and further the Gospel message. Yet as the movement grew, people brought in many ideas and practices from the world around them. The church began to adopt many customs from many religions and as the church grew, Christianity evolved.

Christianity is really a hybrid religion. It’s a mesh of Judiasm, paganism, and the teachings of Christ. People have added many things in because our human rituals and traditions are comforting to us. We have adopted and adapted Christianity to fit our needs as the centuries have gone on. It has become a religion and not a relationship. The root of Christianity is a movement of people who wanted desperately to follow Jesus Christ and experience the Living God. And that is what they did. They lived all their days out with a passionate zeal for Christ.

Somewhere along the line we have gotten religion and Jesus mixed up in one big bag together. We have started to believe that God is Christianity, church and the Bible, and therefore began replacing a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus with these beliefs. We began to believe that in order to be good, to know Jesus, to do the right thing, we had to go to church, read the Bible and do all the “Christian things”. We had to do service work and be involved in church and be on committees and in groups. We had to look to Christian leaders and pastors to help us and teach us. We have gotten very lost.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.  You are still worldly.

1 Corinthians 3:2-3

Jesus Christ is not a religion, nor is He only to be found in the Bible or church. Jesus Christ is everywhere and in everything. We were created through Him and for Him. We have His Holy Spirit living inside of us. We were created in heaven for His purpose. No matter what we do, what religion we affiliate with, or what church we go to, Jesus is with us. Always, even until the end of the age. Jesus does not care if we are Christian or not. He cares if we have a relationship with Him. A deep and intimate relationship. Outside of that, nothing else matters.

There is a lot of condemnation when it comes to Christianity. Christians are pitted against other Christians over trivial matters and the world hates us because of this hypocrisy. The world doesn’t hate the light, it loves it. The problem is, while we have been so busy filling ourselves up with religious practices and self righteousness, the devil and swooped in and deceived the whole world with his light. Lucifer is beautiful and bright and hides all of his destruction and death underneath it, so that all the world can see looks good and right. And he has crept in with his disguise and made Christianity look like the real evil of the world.

Christianity has become symbols, rituals, ideals and actions. It’s time to let go of all of it if we truly want to chase after Christ with the same desperate passion of our forefathers, the disciples. Jesus wants a relationship with you right now, exactly where you are. God speaks to you and you do not need an interpreter. The Living God, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is inside of you right now. God has done everything He can to make our part easier. If you are struggling with feeling condemned or hearing the voice of God, that’s OK. God can help you with that. Just keep seeking Him and trusting Him to lead the way.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13

christianityIf we want to see the message of the Gospel progress in this world, we need to each one do our own individual parts. That means starting first with Christ as we let everything else in our lives fall away. Every person needs to come before the throne of God and seek His glorious presence and know Him personally. We were created for this. It is only through this relationship we are going to find freedom from oppression, healing, who God created us to be, and the call He has placed over our lives. There is no thing that can do that for us.

No matter what happens with the church or religion, God will always stand strong and prevail. If we want to focus on God, then we need to reevaluate our priorities and beliefs and bring them all before the throne room of God. Then we need to be willing to allow Him to come into our hearts and lives and show us where we have succumbed to idolatry and pageantry so that we can find His freedom. Jesus died for our freedom to be with Him all of the time. Let’s not waste our time looking for Him and realize He has been inside of us all along.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Romans 8:9