He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

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The Deeper Heart of God

The Deeper Heart of God

 

THE DEEPER HEART OF GOD

 

A brief Introduction

What you are about to read is my personal journey into the revelation of the Deeper Heart of God. This came over a two-year period of seeing God through new eyes. Eyes that He enlightened by His Spirit to see Him in a whole new way. Some of what was revealed I had never seen before or heard anyone speak about. I would catch glimpses of Him in other’s writings that led me on a search to want to know more.

What I realized in writing this book is that He wants to be known on a deeper and more intimate level than we can comprehend. It is a continual ever-expanding experience that leads us to knowing Him as He truly is, and, in the process, we gain a deeper understanding of who we are as His beloved creation.

This is in a sense a love story of The Creator’s relentless, unquenchable love for us; His most treasured and prized creative expression of Himself. We are indeed the most like Him of all created beings. He was so satisfied with His creative work that He chose even before time began to become one of us so that we could know Him in the most personal and intimate way possible; by making the way for Him to dwell not just in our midst but within us. This is His greatest desire and reveals The Deeper Heart of God.

by Jim Palmer

 

Chapter one  

WHO ARE WE?

Every two seconds someone’s identity is stolen. No this is not an infomercial about protecting your identity but rather a discussion of who we are and to identify some of the faulty thinking we may suffer from that can keep us from realizing our full potential. Our identity was stolen from our first parents and it has been God’s plan to get it back for us and for us to know who we are.

As everything else that smacks of deception; it all started in the garden. Well, actually since the intent of this writing is to share some insights and revelation I’ve recently experienced, let’s begin the discussion before the Adam and Eve debacle.

The setting I believe can be actually before creation in a conversation between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; Elohim in Hebrew for Creator, a triune contemplative moment actualized on the sixth day of creation. In other words, I believe it was a premeditative decision not spur of the moment and was the primary motivation for creating the earth and all that is in it and lives on it. Perhaps this was a conversation that took place even before time began.

Genesis 1:26 “And God said, let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness and let them have dominion…over all the earth.” Then it says in verse 27 that He did it. “And God created man in His own image in the image of God He created them male and female He created them and God blessed them and God said to them ‘Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue and have dominion… and God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good.”

As I wrote this, I took it word for word from the Hebrew interlinear translation. As I read it I got a sense of “pride of authorship” from an excited owner, like someone who makes or invents something that they are genuinely passionate about and want to make absolutely certain that everyone knows that it is theirs and that they are proud of it and want everyone to know and appreciate the accomplishment.

I see unabashed excitement and pride of ownership on the part of Elohim, the God of creation.

Look at how many times it references God as the owner and creator: God, Us, Our image, Our likeness, God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created them male and female, He created them and God blessed them and God said to them, and God saw all that He had made and behold it was very good.

 Hey, if God says something is very good it is very good.

And He said this not only about all He created in six days, but also and especially about us, His crowning jewel of creation for whom He created to have dominion over the earth.

In Hebrew when words and phrases are repeated it is for impact and emphasis. It accentuates the point and can add emotional weight, significance and importance. Like highlighting or spotlighting something to draw attention to it. Like whenever Jesus would say “Verily, Verily” it was a way of saying listen up, this has great importance and weight.

I have to say with all respect that it seems wonderfully and amazingly vulnerable and uninhibitedly joyful, almost childlike innocent excitement and jubilance that our Creator displayed over the idea of creating us.

We as believers have heard and read the creation story many times no doubt. I want to encourage you to re-read it even out loud with the emotion of someone genuinely uninhibitedly excited with so much passion that they can’t contain themselves. Like a child on Christmas morning who is so excited and joyful over their newly discovered treasure unwrapped under the tree. Showing it off to everyone with uncontained joy! That’s the way I heard it when I looked at the original Hebrew. That was the conversation the Father, Son and Holy Spirit had before time began full of genuine emotion and excitement as they discussed creating us in their (Our) image.

This revelation overwhelmed me to such a level that I had to put this aside for several months before I could write again. Every thought of this amazing discovery left me speechless in awe and amazement at the genuine, uninhibited, child-like, vulnerable expression of pure joy that our creator felt and expressed among the triune Godhead at the thought of creating us.

With this in mind, listen to the details shared when He created us from the dust of the earth:

This is the history of the heavens and of the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens–

5 When no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not [yet] caused it to rain upon the earth and there was no man to till the ground,

6 But there went up a mist (fog, vapor) from the land and watered the whole surface of the ground–

7 Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being.

8 And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden [delight]; and there He put the man whom He had formed (framed, constituted).” Genesis 2:3-8.

It would appear that after speaking all other parts of creation into existence, He took special care to “form” man from the dust of the ground. The word in Hebrew is yatsar which has the image of a potter forming its desired vessel from the clay.

In this narrative recounting creation and the details of how man came to be, it’s noteworthy that this is the first mention of Yahweh; the Lord. Elohim is a less personal reference to God as the Creator. Yahweh is the proper reference to the God of Israel that met Moses at the burning bush. He is the expression of the Lord who interacts with us on a personal level.

I followed a study by Pastor Joseph Prince that really opened my eyes to the personal nature of this name. In Hebrew, the letters would translate YHVH or yud, hey, vav, hey. Each letter in Hebrew is a picture of what the letter represents. Yud is hand, hey is grace represented by an open window, vav is nail or a hook and hey again is grace. Put it together and you have “Hand of grace nailed in grace.”

So the imagery is of YHVH; Lord Elohim, the Creator getting His hands dirty so to speak in forming man. This heightens the imagery of an overjoyed Creator personally using His hands to form His prize creation. But these are not ordinary hands. These are His hands extended in grace in forming man that will also be nailed in grace for His redemption and salvation.

He then breathes into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life and man became a living being. The breath of God is breathed into man’s face; an intimate Panim El Panim moment (face to face).

The first thing Adam saw when he took his first breath and opened his eyes was the face of Yahweh. It was by design that Adam would see His face first so there would be no question in his mind about how he got here.

I assure you, there was a beaming ear to ear smile on Yahweh’s face when Adam came to life. This was the beginning of a relationship that was to go on forever.

I love the fact that our Creator was excited and proud of what He created especially when He made us with an unabashed passionate display of genuine joy over His own creation; even us.

I noticed that in the Amplified version quoted previously after Eden (delight) was inserted. Perhaps even the name Eden implies Delight. So, the Creator planted a delightful garden for the man to live in and enjoy. It further accentuates the Delight of God over His creation.

To me this shows the deeper heart of God as a vulnerable, passionate creator in love with His creation and with only good in His heart and mind towards man.

It reminds me of one of my favorite verses that gives a glimpse into the Lord’s jubilance over us found in Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.”

Just take a moment to take in this amazing scene. The Lord, who we as believers in Jesus understand is a reference to Him, identifies Himself as “our” God, is where? In our midst. This word in Hebrew carries with it the deeper spiritual quality of living in us which prior to Pentecost was a prophetic hope for Israel but not yet experienced at the time of this writing. Yet, the Lord so identifies with us that He says He is in the midst of us; completely surrounding us and involved in every aspect of who we are. Not distant or put off by who we are. In fact, in this prophetic passage it is as if He has already made provision for our sins as our Savior who saves (which in Hebrew is the name Joshua or Jesus in Greek which means salvation).

He rejoices over you with joy.

  Here again we see the doubling of words for emphasis of the unbound joy that He has for us. He rests in silent satisfaction and in His Love He is silent. What is He silent about? He is silent about our sins. He makes no mention of them or even recalls them. This fulfills the prophetic word of Jeremiah 31:33 and repeated in Hebrews 10: “I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. “

Isn’t this good news? He has the ability and has exercised it on our behalf to never again remember our sins. This is intentional memory loss that results in His ability to rest in His Love for us in silence regarding our sins. Why? Because He, Jesus, already took them and paid for them all and removed them all. They no longer exist. And in the mind of God, this was actually arranged and took place before time began as a Covenant between God the Father and God the Son; Jesus, witnessed and administered through the Holy Spirit of God.

It was a foregone conclusion. He has by His own volition made provision for removing our sins and the just penalty for them in eternity past realized in a place and time 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ.

Back to the Zephaniah passage, He doesn’t remain silent. In jubilance, His uncontainable joy is released over what gives Him unrestrained pleasure in expressions of pure unabashed joy; that being us. He just can’t contain it and bursts forth in singing. That’s right, the Lord God Almighty bursts into jubilant, joyful song over us. Even the word for singing in Hebrew which is “rinnah” comes from the root word “ranan” which means joy.

So again, it is not just singing but a ringing cry of joyful song, a joyful shout, shouts of joy. In other words;

 He’s happy and joyful about us and not afraid to show it in outward public displays of affection.

Yes, He is absolutely, smitten with Love for us and cannot contain it; he has to release it in shouts and maybe even dancing along with singing over us in joy.

It sounds rather “human” of Almighty God wouldn’t you say? Like a young man who has fallen head over heels in love with the love of his life and who wants the whole world to know it? Jesus said it best when He said “for God SO loved the world…”

I want to speak more about this and will later but for now I want to keep the spotlight and focus on this expression of the deeper heart of God and just how He really felt about us from the beginning of creation and which frankly has not changed since then in fact has even intensified over time.

For that is the reality and nature and very essence of God and His love. Though His love is infinite and eternal, It never stops growing and will continue to increase over time and throughout eternity. There’s no shutoff valve once it has been released and knows no bounds, no limits, and increases exponentially in multiplied limitless expression. It is not stagnant or stationery. It is infinite and eternal which means there is no end to it and get this; it is all expressed, offered, and provided to us; the crown of His creative expression of Himself; humanity and as a result all creation benefits from it and waits with expectant groaning for the full expression of it to be manifested in and through us; the sons and daughters of God.

His love for each of us is limitless so we each experience the fullness, the infinite, eternal unlimited love of God as if we were the only one He loves and yet there’s no limit to each one, who so ever will to come to Him and experience this fullness.

So what is He so excited and joyful about?

Paul’s prayer for us in Ephesians 3:14-19 is focused on three main objectives that will culminate in our complete transformation:  “14 For this reason I kneel before the Father  15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory,  to be strengthened with power  in the inner man  through His Spirit, 17and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love,  19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Our complete transformation is our being filled with ALL the fullness of God.

Here are the three points of Paul’s prayer that result in this transformation:

  1. That our Father may grant you according to His riches of His glory to be strengthened with power in your inner man through His Spirit.
  2. That the Messiah; the Anointed One, Jesus Christ Himself may dwell (in your “midst” in the deepest part of who you are; in your heart) through faith. That is, through His faith working in us as Paul stated in Ephesians 2:6 which is a gift from God therefore it is His faith not ours that was given to us. His faith, by the way, never fails. It is impossible for it to fail because it is His faith in us which has permanently joined us with His Spirit who lives and operates in and through us.
  3. That as we are rooted and firmly established in His love, we will be able to comprehend the length, width, height and depth of God’s love (for you) and to know intimately the Messiah Jesus’ love that is beyond our capacity to know fully because once again; the more we know the more we are able to know His infinite love for us; for you. Make it personal.

It is through the inner working and strengthening of the Father infusing us with power within our inner man; the core of our being through and by His Spirit; that we can experience Jesus Himself living in the “midst” of us in our deepest part of our heart; that causes us to be rooted and firmly established in His Love for us (for you). The result is we are filled with ALL the fullness of God.

This in my opinion, is what we were created for and is the highest desire of our Creator God who prefers to be called “Abba” Daddy. Who wanted us to be so like Him; created in His image to be a physical representation of Who He is for all creation to see and experience as His highest form of physical expression. Even to the point that we might be filled with ALL His fullness.

This is who we are and what we were created and designed for. To be the Divine Expression of All God is in a physical form; even our human bodies; made to look just like Him.

Our physical form was such a perfect representation of Him that He could even become one of us; a human being fully capable of expressing the fullness of God. This is Who Jesus was and is and will forever be. Hebrews 1 says it best,

Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. 

After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

In Hebrews 12:1 we gain insight into what motivated Jesus to come and make purification for our sins:

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,

2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.’

The joy that lay before Him was the anticipation of our reconciliation back to Himself which could only come by His perfect sacrifice of Love through the cross absorbing all ramifications of our fall, our sins and the subsequent curse; being nailed to a tree.

This joy of knowing His creation could be brought back to not only its original glory but that the mystery hidden in the deep recesses of His heart might be fulfilled. Christ in us; the hope of glory.

In both of these Hebrew passages it refers to the completion of His work as when He sat down at the right Hand of God’s throne. Paul gained further revelation from Jesus that this finishing work also includes us;

Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us,  5 made us alive  with the Messiah even though we were dead  in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens,  7 so that in the coming ages  He might display the immeasurable riches  of His grace through His kindness  to us in Christ Jesus.”

This is the crowning work of Jesus in redeeming us through His blood; giving us faith to believe and imparting His very life into us by His Spirit. He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, with Jesus. Please note this is not a future event but rather is stated in the past tense. It has already happened. We are presently seated with Him in heaven and all authority in Heaven and on Earth which He commands He has given to us to rule and reign with Him.

That’s a big deal. That’s what you and I were created for. That’s who we are and how He sees us. When we begin to embrace this identification with Jesus Christ and begin to see ourselves the way He does, we will begin to know who we truly are.

 

Chapter 2

The Vulnerable Nature of God

The vulnerable nature of God is something I have only recently become acquainted with and it has begun to rock my world as I see Him in a whole new light. It is transforming how I approach Him and see Him from a fresh, new, perspective in His word. It also is transforming how I see myself in terms of my relationship with Him and I believe it is beginning to affect my relationship with others.

It has a simultaneous effect of elevating and humbling my view of myself and on an emotional level it has shaken me to the core of my being.

I approach this subject literally with fear and trembling out of awe and reverence and amazement as to what the Lord has allowed me to see about Himself. I actually feel a sense of wanting to protect Him and this side of Him yet compelled to share it none the less.

I believe that what I am about to share with you, has the potential to change the way you see God forevermore, as it has for me.

I’m about to walk you through my journey of discovery of the vulnerable nature of God.         

Have you ever wondered about how satan tried to over throw God’s rule in heaven?

From what we know from the Bible, He was created as one of the top angels in the hierarchy of heaven. Some believe he led worship in heaven though there are no specific verses I am aware of that state this though maybe some imply it. We really don’t know much about it other than the fact that he did make an attempt and was even successful in convincing one third of the total angel population to follow him. Now this is an intelligent, powerful, created being who was in the presence of Almighty God from the time he was created and had to know him personally since he was created to serve him. So, what was it that made him willing to risk everything and to think that he actually could over throw the God of the Universe and take over as ruler of heaven and the universe?

I think it was seeing and personally encountering the vulnerable nature of God.

Prior to satan’s rebellion, there had never been a reason or cause to see anything but the loving, humble, and yes even vulnerable nature of God.

Think about the fruit of the Spirit which express His nature; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is what every being in His presence saw emanating from the heart and very nature of God. Heaven was immersed in His peace, love and perpetual joy and had never experienced anything else.

Satan would also have known that He was all powerful, all knowing, ever present and everlasting. It was, I believe the power and sovereignty of God that he jealously coveted and actually thought he had a good chance of usurping.

I think it was in seeing the softer, gentler, vulnerable side of God; even a child-like innocence with no pretention, pride, or self-protection or preservation that made Him seem almost naive or even unaware of His own vulnerabilities. I believe that just as Jesus bent down and washed the dirty feet of His disciples, this loving serving nature of God was evident to all in heaven.

In His presence they felt their infinite worth and value magnified not diminished by His greatness.

How else would an intelligent angelic being think that he could be successful in staging a successful rebellious over throw of the Ruler and Creator of the Universe?

Isn’t this consistent with any evil leader’s mode of reasoning when it comes to rising up against authority that they are subject to?  There has to be a defining moment when they have weighed their options, considered the potential for loss, and decided the risk is worth the effort. This has to come from a foregone conclusion that they believe they will be successful, right?

I think this was the reasoning of satan over the course of time of experiencing All Mighty God, the one Who created him, in His triune expression of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Watching, observing, evaluating the very nature and essence of His being; that being complete and total Love.

He must have seen this as the weak underbelly of God that would be vulnerable to his surprise attack rebellious uprising with his fellow angels who fell for the dark side.

There are references that imply that possibly one third of the angels decided to risk everything and throw in with satan. There must have been a plan that they all agreed to.

This would have taken some time in whatever form time took before the time we know. They must have seen the same vulnerable nature of God to be convinced that this was His weakness that they could literally overthrow.

This also implies that God gave them time. Perhaps a demonstration of His patience with hope that they would have a change of mind. This is only speculation, but it also represents His nature of offering grace and mercy.

At some point He must have said, “enough!” which left only one conclusion; expelling the traitors and assigning them to places of confinement. Maybe earth before God spoke life into it, served as a place of quarantining the fallen. It was dark and void of life, but it did exist. Since satan showed up on the scene in the garden, this theory has validity.

I am confident it took no time at all for satan to realize the disastrous results of his false assumptions when he and his fellow compatriots where booted out of heaven.

I leave where they all went for you to contemplate but I have good reason to believe that it was to a cold, dark, dismal rock in space with no light and no life for an undetermined amount of time. Until one day when the commanding voice of God said, “Let light be”, and there was light.

The battle ensued for the rule of this domain with what appeared as a victory for this fallen creature on two occasions; the first in the garden when by lies our first parents were deceived and fell from their position of authority and rule of the planet. And the second, when he prevailed over Pilate to have Jesus crucified.

The outcome of the second; the resurrection of Jesus from the dead destroyed the power and works of the devil in a single blow and announced and displayed his final defeat to the entire Universe, even when He shouted from the cross; ‘It is finished!’ His resurrection confirming His completed work when He rose from the dead.

Later Paul would share the mystery revealed to him by Jesus that we actually were crucified with Christ and it is now no longer us who live but Christ who lives in us by the same resurrection power that raised Him from the dead. He further explains that as we died with Christ we were raised with Him in His resurrection and that we were then seated with Him on His throne in heaven far above all powers and authorities. More on this in a later chapter.

Yes, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

This triumphant victory was prophesied by God himself to satan in the garden when He foretold that the “seed of the woman would crush his head.”  As I recently heard Eric Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding California declare, “God spoke directly to satan and said, “He is going to crush your head so hard that His heal will be bruised.” I just had to get that said.

One more footnote as to the destructiveness of the devil; since he had no power to overthrow or bring God into subjection; which was his plot after all, he did the next best thing.

He saw the image of God in us, the crown of God’s creation, so he plotted to mar and distort it in an attempt to destroy the image of God in us. He did this through the only tool in his tool box; through deception.

Consider this; every human action, attribute, characteristic, mannerism, emotion, thought, and words spoken all reflected the Creator. All male and female traits reflect the very nature and image of God.

All our desires, dreams, visions and hopes before the fall and now that flow from the perfect new creation that we have become, who have embraced Jesus as Lord; all represent and reflect our Creator.

All the evil that mankind has brought upon himself over history since the fall was the result of these God given, God-like qualities and God designed nature being distorted and deprived of their original purpose before the fall.

They all reflect the original intent of the deception; that being that we who were the most ideal replication in physical form of God Himself lacked something, were incomplete and needed to take matters into our own hands and do something about it.

In other words, reject God, rebel against His authority, just as the deceiver did, and attempt to become a god unto ourselves. Take any sin or known atrocity of man and you can trace it back to this one lie. In affect to become our own god.

Now back to what I think got satan in trouble in the first place; observing the vulnerability of God.

One of the most notable things that expresses this nature of God is in His Sovereign choice to create us and all created beings including the angels with freedom of choice. This is no small matter and worth taking a deeper look into this dimension of the nature of God.

Considering the fact that God is Almighty and Sovereign over his creation, from this place He sovereignly chose to create all living beings with freedom of choice. Angels, people and living creatures have this autonomy by virtue of creation.

This also illustrates the risk-taking nature of God. He put everything at risk when He decided to create free, moral agents with absolute freedom to make their own decisions about everything. This also is a reflection of His own nature; unobstructed, unrestricted autonomy. Yet, because of His nature, He is by virtue of His own existence a relational being. So, everything created is a reflection of Who He is including His autonomy so that our choices are ours including the choice of having a relationship with our creator.

In other words, as I have often heard it said, God is a gentleman. He respects our choices even when He knows they are harmful to ourselves and others. It would be a violation of His expressed will to limit us and restrict our freedom to choose.

That said, He is also Sovereign over His Universe and with the freedom holds all created beings responsible for their choices and the resulting consequences.

But because His deeper heart beats with compassion, mercy, and love, He willingly and earnestly desires to show us these qualities as we become willing to receive them.

This was demonstrated to us in that while we were yet sinners; in a state of absolute rebellion against Him and justifiably deserving His righteous wrath and judgment, because He is also just and righteous and cannot allow rebellion to go unpunished; he intervened.

When we had messed up and could do absolutely nothing to redeem ourselves; BUT GOD, I love it when I find this in His word. Said best here in Ephesians 2 in the Amplified Version:

AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

2 In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God].

3 Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind.

4 But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,

5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).

6 And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

7 He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” 11

I included the entire passage so that you can get the flow of the thought process in this majestic writing of Paul. We were lost, separated from God and in absolute rebellion; on our own. Even though we deserved His wrath and judgment as insurrectionist in direct opposition to His authority, BUT GOD.

I emboldened verse 4 and would ask that you re-read that verse several times and think about what it is saying before you read my next comment which will be waiting for you in the next chapter.

Chapter 3

Because of His great Love

Ephesians 2:4 in the Amplified Version has absolutely rocked my world. I pray it will have that impact on you as well in a good way.

The first sentence demands our full abrupt attention. It even ends with an exclamation mark! Did you notice that when you read and re-read it? “But GOD, SO RICH IS HE IN HIS MERCY!” It’s like the writer, Paul, is saying just stop and think about this and let it impact you. Just stand here a moment and marvel.

You see, this is God’s volitional will out of His free choice being expressed. He did not have one single good reason emanating from us to cause Him to grant us immunity and pardon from our rebellion against Him. “While we were dead in our trespasses and sins…” Dead people can’t do anything about their condition. Neither could we. It took divine intervention through the work of the Holy Spirit to breathe life into our dead souls and birth faith within us that allowed the very seed (sperma in the Greek) of God simultaneously to be planted in us and to bring forth life where there was no life, even eternal Life with the very nature of God within us. SO RICH IS HE IN HIS MERCY!

The next part undoes me, and the wheels fly off leaving me totally undone and messed up before Him.

Hang on, here it comes; here’s the reason:

“Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,”

The Lord had a desire that could only be met and satisfied by demonstrating His love for us.

It was not only a desire, it was a great and wonderful and intense desire. He just couldn’t help himself. He was and is SO unabashedly, so undeniably, so irresistibly, so intensely, so unreservedly, so unashamedly, in love with us (with you) that He was more than willing to do whatever it took and whatever necessary to satisfy this great, overwhelming, literally uncontrollable intense love that He chose before time began, to have satisfaction for His great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us.

John 3:16- No doubt one of the most memorized, quoted, and favored verses in the entire Bible. It starts with, “For God so loved the world…” The key word being “ SO ”. Loving the world in spite of our rebellion and rejection of God’s love He still SO loved us that He gave His Only Son for us.

The intensity of His love is incomprehensible yet stands at the center of all time and eternity as the greatest act of sacrificial love to be marveled at for all eternity. We will continue to grow in our awareness and appreciation of His demonstration of love forever. It virtually defines Love: Found in The Deeper Heart of God.

I John 4:9-11- gives us a clear statement of what Love is: “In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him.

 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.”

As we have already seen and will explore further in a later chapter, all that has been in the Heart of God from eternity past is revealed in the sending of His son Jesus, Yeshua, whose name literally means “Salvation”.

His plan motivated from His pure, undefiled, righteous Love could only be fulfilled and His deepest longing satisfied by giving the One who for all eternity was His Beloved Son. The Son being willing to come and become flesh and blood, as we are, so He could be the perfect sacrifice for fallen, lost, rebellious man. Love so amazing, so divine.

The more we marvel at and behold His Love for us, the more we become expressions of His Love to Him demonstrated in how we love each other.

We have a choice in this. We can continue to walk in judgment towards others without the ability to do so righteously or we can release this illusion of being able to judge accurately and instead become consumed by His Love for us which releases us to love Him and others with His love. When we make this choice, we experience the greatest force in the Universe; the Love of God.

Everything in the Universe is made to vibrate at the frequency of God’s Love. Anything out of sync with His Love is dead, powerless, worthless and destined for destruction and elimination.

This was the great mysterious longing of the deeper heart of God that caused Him to plan and prepare for the creation of the physical universe including and especially earth and its inhabitants. All designed to reflect who He is. The ultimate culmination of creation being us; the only living beings said to be created in His image and likeness. Beings with the capacity of having God actually live inside them by His Spirit as living demonstrations of His Love.

This is Who He is; the greatest Lover of all time who was willing to make Himself vulnerable to the point of complete identification with us by becoming one of us, spending nine months in utero just as each of us did being born as each of us were even as a helpless, needy, vulnerable baby who had to be changed, fed, and protected by human parents. Exposed to all the dangers of this world and more. Born as one of us with one ultimate purpose in life; to die in our place so we could live with Him forever.

GOD IS LOVE.

LOVE MUST BE SHOWN AND DEMONTRATED TO BE KNOWN. HE HAD TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO COULD CHOOSE TO RESPOND OR NOT RESPOND TO HIS LOVE. HE MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO WERE DEAD TO HIM TO COME TO LIFE AND KNOW AND EXPERIENCE HIS VERY ESSENCE; LOVE.

It was the only way He could ultimately satisfy His great, wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. So came The Lamb of God.

Chapter 4

The Lamb of God

Throughout Hebraic history the most outstanding foreshadowing of Jesus is in the Passover Lamb. Early mention of animal sacrifices shows the understanding of substitution. Abel the second born human understood this and offered an animal sacrificed; perhaps a lamb before the Lord and it pleased Him.

His brother brought the produce of the land from the work of his hands and was rejected.

The sacrificial ritual was known by Noah and then later by Abraham. All the ones that followed after God understood the need for a substitute, a sacrificial lamb to cleanse and remove the barrier of sinfulness between them and a Holy God.  It was clear that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sins.

All of these were foreshadowing of the ultimate Lamb who would come, even Jesus our Lord.

The prophet John the Baptist-“or” said of Him when He came to the Jordon River, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”

Passover officially begins this evening (Friday April 22nd) this year and I have been compelled to share this portion at this time as it is upon us.

As the title of this work implies, this is my attempt to share the deeper heart of God as He has revealed to me in certain ways as I have meditated upon His Word and grown in my knowledge and experience of Him personally. Also, as I have received teaching and revelation from others that I will be sharing and quoting at times.

One passage that I am going to share is actually from something I wrote a number of years ago; a short story called “Seven Days to Glory”. It is written as a journal entry by my name sake; the Apostle James. I think it captures best what I would like to share that reveals an insight into the deeper heart of God as revealed in the Passover.

To set this up, let me remind you that the Lord chose to be represented not by a full-grown ram at Passover even though He was in the case of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah but as a young and vulnerable baby lamb.

“Too many questions raced through my mind for this time of day. Breakfast would be light this morning as we prepared for the evening Passover meal and my thoughts began to awaken to the significance of this day. Today was the day for the Passover Lamb to be slain. The tender, tame, family lamb that by now had become the family pet.

For days before Passover, the tradition required the lamb to be chosen and placed in the care of the homemaker. She would bring the lamb inside the home and he would have free run of the house. The children loved this time of year when an animal would run through the house jumping, bumping, playing, baaing, tumbling with the children in continuous scurrying fun.

At evening, the lamb would be tied to the leg of the table drinking milk from a bowl lovingly placed by one of the children who always jostled for who would be closest to the lamb that night. They often named them sweet, pet names and sometime made garlands for their necks from flowers in the fields. The trick was to get it on them without them eating it first. And so, it was in the home where we stayed but today the lamb would serve the purpose for which it had been chosen. Perfect, without blemish, pure white, soft, woolly, with distinct dark feet and muzzle, washed and ready for the moment of truth.

The father would take the lamb and gently lead it with the children following.

They would give it one last hug and kiss and often with tears speak soft words of comfort and sweet tender good-byes and then it was over. Blood soaked wool, crimson fleece, lifeless form, blood splattered ground.

The mother would receive the portions of fresh mutton prepared for the fire as the father painted the doorposts, across the top and both sides with the hyssop dipped in the blood of the freshly slain lamb.

A tender sacrifice of love lost, and life given. Protection from the darkness of death, passing over the powerless, depending solely on the sacrificial substitute whose life was given that they might live.

Glorious mystery of salvation transmitted through time wrapped in the sublime message of hope through a splattered blood covering, from a sacrificed innocent lamb.” From Seven Days to Glory © 2004.

I love to celebrate the Jewish tradition of Passover with the Seder dinner. It is full of hidden mysteries that all point to Jesus our Messiah.

One thing you will not see at a modern Passover is a slain lamb.  Since AD 70 and the destruction of the temple this practice is not observed. Prayer is offered instead.

The ultimate reason that the practice no longer exists is that the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world came. Jesus the Messiah who Isaiah prophesied five hundred years earlier would come as it says in Isaiah 53:5-7 “5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.

6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him

for the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.”

Like a lamb led to the slaughter is a grim yet revealing statement that gives a glimpse into the deeper heart of God.

The willingness of Jesus to endure His passion in a state of complete vulnerable innocence is the greatest mystery of all time. We will marvel at this for all eternity and I believe we will grow in our appreciation and depth of understanding of this remarkable event where time and eternity converge.

It’s hard to think of something as gentle, innocent and vulnerable as a baby lamb. This is what Jesus longed to become for us. In fact, He was overwhelmed with emotion of anticipation looking forward to the last Passover He would celebrate with His disciples.

Listen to what He said that night before His betrayal in the Young’s literal translation in Luke 22:15:

and he said unto them, `With desire I did desire to eat this Passover with you before my suffering,”

There’s the double words again that give great emphasis to what is being said. I studied the Greek for the word “desire’ in this passage and here is what it said:

Desire- epithumia: desire, passionate longing, lust. Eagerness for, inordinate desire. It comes from two words, epi “focused on” (like epi-center) and thymos “passionate desire” properly built on strong feelings (urges).

The second time the word is slightly different. It is epithymeo. To show focused passion as it aptly builds upon what a person truly yearns for; to greatly desire to do or have something- to long for, to desire very much.

So, what I see is a strong overwhelming desire that has evolved and intensified from having a focused passion a truly great yearning to do or have something. Something that has been longed for and desired very much.

Jesus is passionate about this final Passover before His passion; His suffering. What is it about this Passover meal that has caused Him to have these strong, overwhelming desires?

I think it is the fact that this is the culmination of all time and eternity converging in this one moment that will completely satisfy the passionate longing and desire of God that we previously discussed.

To put this moment in perspective, all that the Father and Jesus before He was born and before time began agreed to do was about to be accomplished and was being demonstrated in the very meal they were about to eat. This meal was representing His body and His blood about to be sacrificed and poured out as the sacrificial Lamb of God; once for all time and eternity removing all barriers and distance between God and us once and for all.

This was the deep mystery hidden in the recesses of eternity with clues and glimpses scattered throughout the Old Testament of the plan, culminating in this one single event that would mark and divide time forever.

The fall was not a surprise to an All knowing Omniscient God. The plan for our redemption was determined way before the fall and even before the creation of the world. It was a complete plan that included creating man in God’s likeness with total autonomy in our ability to choose or reject God. Yet because of the depth of the Love of God for us and His creation, He planned in advance for our redemption in the most amazing mysterious manner imaginable; to become one of us.

It was what Jesus was born to do and that He and His Father had planned from eternity past. To reconcile fallen humanity back to Himself and to destroy the works of the devil once and for all; stripping him of all power and reclaiming the authority stolen from mankind in the garden.

Reversing the curse and reclaiming all that was lost in the fall. Destroying in the process all the works of the devil and his hold over humanity.

Jesus was the second Adam, the one who would take the full penalty for the rebellion of the first Adam and all his children who had or who would ever inhabit this planet and restore us back to our Creator; the one who loved us with an eternal everlasting passionate love that couldn’t be extinguished even with mankind rejecting Him fully. Not even recognizing the One Who made us when He came as one of us.

John said it this way: “There it was–the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person.

10 He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him].

11 He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own–His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.

12 But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.” John 1: 9-12 Amplified Version.

BUT TO AS MANY… Here’s another BUT that displays the amazing grace of God. As many as received and welcomed Him. The whosoever will… of John 3:16. The open invitation which still exists to this very hour for anyone who will come to Him believing and willing to receive Him. There it is again. God Almighty respecting our autonomy and freedom to choose. This is not difficult though theologians would attempt to make it so over the years since Jesus came. Those who call upon Him as Lord will be saved; set free from themselves and given new life in Jesus. His very life coming to dwell “in the midst of us” by His Holy Spirit. Awakening dead souls and breathing the breath of life into them but now for eternity; Eternal Life breathed in; the very life of God into our beings forming new creations in His likeness who will live forever. Death defeated. We will live forever.

This is the deeper heart of God revealed in the passionate desire of Jesus to not only eat the last Passover meal but to become the Passover Lamb; once and for all and to take away the barrier of sin from the world in the greatest demonstration of pure, undefiled, sacrificial love; expressing the heart and longing of God. This and only this could satisfy that deep longing, desire of God. That great, wonderful, intense love for us that had to be satisfied. This was the only way it could be done.

Here stands the God of the Universe who created all, having become a man and willingly, like a lamb being led to the slaughter to take our place and receive the judgment of God for us to bring us back to Himself where He could share His deeper heart of love with us; the objects of His greatest affection and love.

Behold, the Lamb of God.

Chapter Five

BEFORE TIME BEGAN…

Even the title of this chapter may be hard to get our minds around. But the fact is, there is much of the mystery of the pre-creation shared in the Bible; before time began. We know from Genesis that the clock started ticking on the first day of creation when God said, Let light be.. but before we go there, I want to introduce a “foundational” principle that I have recently been enlightened by.

THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

There are four key segments of scripture I’m aware of that open up the realm of what was in the mind of the Trinity before time began that reveal an amazing reality. Here is the first set of verses and then I will share the insight I have recently gleaned from them;

3” May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!

4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]–

6 [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor,

8 Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence),

9 Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him,

10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.

11 In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,

12 So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!” Ephesians 1

Since these 9 verses contain a wealth of thought that could be chewed on for a long time to come, I’m now going to take the highlighted portions and put them together to get closer to the point I want to make and to the insight I am excited to share:

in Christ before the foundation of the world,

He foreordained us

in accordance with the purpose of His will

Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him,

[He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.

been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,

Now some may have issues over the foreordained part of this and I’ll leave that with you for another time. What I want to share is an amazing fresh revelation that has been coming together for quite some time and the fullness of it hit me today which is why I was prompted to stop what I was doing and write.

I want to begin by saying, I do not believe I have a private revelation. I have gleaned from other writings and speaking and research to come to the conclusions I want to share. OK, here we go.

The key word that is central to this insight is the word “FOUNDATION”.

It is found in three other places in reference to Jesus and His sacrificial offering of Himself on our behalf before the “foundation” of the world. They are:

“But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ (the Messiah), like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot. It is true that He was chosen and foreordained (destined and foreknown for it) before the foundation of the world, but He was brought out to public view (made manifest) in these last days (at the end of the times) for the sake of you.” 1 Peter 1:19-20

“And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, everyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice] from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8

“By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the [earthly] copies of the heavenly things to be purified, but the actual heavenly things themselves [required far] better and nobler sacrifices than these. For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf. Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own. For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].”Hebrews 9:23-26

All of these verses deserve our full attention and meditation but for now I will address the word I started with; FOUNDATION and then I will come back to this last one for a deeper look.

What I found today is remarkable when I researched this word in the Greek.

Since my intent on writing this is as a book and not a quick read blog, I want to show you the source of my research:

katá, “exactly according to,” down from the most general to the most specific detail and 906 /bállō, “to cast”) – properly, a foundation, cast according to a blueprint (original design); the substructure which determines the entire direction (destination) of all that follows; the foundation-plan, upon which the entire super-structure is built; (figuratively) the beginning (founding) that purposefully designs all that follows.

2602 /katabolḗ (“foundation-plan”) typically relates to Christ’s incarnation, i.e. coming to earth in the flesh to be our Redeemer. This divine plan was set and sealed (guaranteed) before creation (Heb 9:26; 1 Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8). In general, 2602 (katabolḗ) refers to the basis God has established, upon which all people can know Him. This was laid down before the first ray of sunshine or drop of water touched the earth.

The first one for katabole is the actual Greek definition and the second is the “Christianized” version which is also valid but for our purposes here, I want to stay focused on the actual definition.

As you can see it states that it is a description for a “foundation” cast according to a blueprint or original design; the substructure which determines the entire direction (destination) of all that follows, the support for the super-structure to be built. The founding that purposefully designs all that follows.

I’m going to jump around a bit here with the previous verses to show you the path I followed to the conclusions I want to share.

“the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice] from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8

I was meditating on this today and as I did I reversed the order which can be done without doing damage to the context. It would read: “from the foundation of the world, the Lamb was slain…”

Here’s a beginning point of what I gleaned. My transliteration reads from the Greek definitions:

Exactly according to, from the most general down to the most specific detail, the foundation was cast according to the blue-print of the original design; this sub-structure determined the entire direction of the super-structure built (creation of Earth) that purposefully designed all that was to follow.”

So the question is, what is this “FOUNDATION”?

I would like to propose for your consideration that the Foundation is and was

the Lamb that was slain.

If you take this as presented and then go back and read the four passages it will enlighten them and will bring them into harmony with this foundational principle.

Let me show you what I mean.

In the first one, in Ephesians 1 let’s look at the key highlighted points again:

in Christ before the foundation of the world,

He foreordained us in accordance with the purpose of His will

Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him,

been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,

The words in red show clearly that In Christ before the foundation of the world, there was a foreordained plan in accordance with the purpose of His will, of His plan, that He had previously purposed and set forth in Him (Christ) working everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will.

The mystery, according to Paul is the plan of God for redeeming us. This was what God; the Trinity planned and agreed to before time began and was the foundation laid before the creation of the world.

Direct references are made in ten passages from the Old and New Testament to Jesus as the foundation and chief cornerstone. As you may know in building, the corner stone is the first stone placed in the foundation to which all the other stones line up and correspond to the alignment of the chief cornerstone.

Here’s one example from Isaiah 28:16  “Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic].”

So, what are the implications of all of this?

Here’s some food for thought.

Everything about creation is supported by the foundation of the Lamb of God Slain; His Sacrifice.

Therefore, from the beginning, the plan has been revealed by creation, for creation, and through creation of the sacrifice of the Life of the Son of God; Jesus Christ.

All creation is based on the foundational principle of His sacrifice.

It’s written in the stars that radiate by burning and consuming their essence; their energy or life source to tell the story of the coming of the Messiah who would be slain; as a sacrifice. The ancients knew of this in the constellations and the story they told. (link)

It is demonstrated by creation in the giving up of life even from our food as a sacrifice for the sustaining and support of life. The water we drink gives up its life-giving substance and energy to support our lives and all living things. Even the air we breathe exchanges its “life” the oxygen it carries into our bodies to sustain us. Sacrifice is everywhere and emanates from the Foundation Principle;

the Lamb that was slain.

We can see it in worldwide commerce every day. People provide services and goods on behalf of others as a sacrifice to benefit others and they are rewarded. A sacrificial system.

The entire creation is based on meeting needs through sacrifice. The sun shines and provides light, heat, energy by being consumed. Sacrifice.

It is literally everywhere when you think about it and look for it.

The opposite is considered evil, self-serving, greedy, etc. and frankly is short sighted and short lived. In effect, it doesn’t work.

The Universe responds to the sacrificial love effect put in motion by the Trinity demonstrated by the greatest sacrifice of all, the Lamb of God slain. It repels and rejects anything contrary to this foundational principle.

It all speaks of Jesus and is there to make us aware of Him and His great sacrifice that molded the very foundation of all creation.

In the 1 Peter 1:19-20 passage it states that He, Jesus, was Chosen and Foreordained before the foundation of the world. This reflects the predetermined Master’s Plan Foreknown by the Trinity of Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb of God.

In the last passage I mentioned earlier, we see a detailed account in Hebrews of what had been foreordained in the description of the earthly tabernacle stated as being a “copy” of the original one in the Heavenly realm. This is amazing to consider.

Before time began, as a foundation for what would come, the Heavenly Tabernacle was present and existed in Heaven. A constant reminder of the blue-print for the Foundation of all Creation; the Redemptive Sacrifice of the Eternal Lamb of God, slain before the Foundation of the World.

Here is that passage again. As you re-read it, consider the ramifications of what it says in light of what I have attempted to share regarding the Foundation:

“By such means, therefore, it was necessary for the [earthly] copies of the heavenly things to be purified, but the actual heavenly things themselves [required far] better and nobler sacrifices than these. For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.

Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own. For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].”Hebrews 9:23-26

As we can see in this passage, Jesus entered into the Heavenly sanctuary and for what purpose? To offer Himself as the Sacrificial Lamb of God appearing in the very Presence of God on our behalf.

His blood Sacrifice, was the only Sacrifice that resulted in the consummation of the Foundational plan; which was to abolish sin by the Sacrifice of Himself; once for all and to reconcile us and all of creation to the Father.

Jesus came to earth for this one primary purpose. To fulfill the Eternal Plan of the Trinity; the redemption of all of creation, starting with us through His once and for all Sacrifice as the Lamb of God; which was planned and determined before the Foundation of the world. And in fact, was the Foundation laid that supports the entire Universe.

The entire Universe and all that is in it remains intact and held in place on the Foundation of Jesus; the Lamb of God and His Sacrifice.

One of my favorite passages is found in Colossians 1:

“He is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by Him,

in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —

all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things,

and by Him all things hold together.

He is also the head of the body, the church;

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,

so that He might come to have first place in everything.

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,

 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace

through the blood of His cross —

whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

The Foundational Plan that holds all things together was the Father’s plan to bring everything to Himself by making Peace through the blood of the cross; things on earth and things in heaven. All by the sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God slain before (as) the Foundation of the world.

So, the question is, “what should our response be to this mystery revealed?”

“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah!”

“Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.”

“Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.” Hebrews 13:15

 

Chapter 6

Part 2 of BEFORE TIME BEGAN

So, we know that there was a before time in the realm of heaven that we get glimpses of in some places in the Bible. Here’s a few examples:

IN THE beginning [before all-time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. 2 He was present originally with God.” John 1:1

This one also in John 1 references Jesus in His pre-incarnate state of being with the Father and expresses one of the main purposes of His coming; to reveal the Father, our ABBA God:

“18  No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].”

From the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, this passage from Proverbs refers to Wisdom pre-existence with God. Paul said in I Corinthians that Jesus is made unto us Wisdom. This is a reference to Him and His relationship with His Father before time began:

“22 The Lord formed and brought me [Wisdom] forth at the beginning of His way, before His acts of old.

23 I [Wisdom] was inaugurated and ordained from everlasting, from the beginning, before ever the earth existed. [John 1:1; I Cor. 1:24.]

24 When there were no deeps, I was brought forth, when there were no fountains laden with water.

25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth, [Job 15:7, 8.]

26 While as yet He had not made the land or the fields or the first of the dust of the earth.

27 When He prepared the heavens, I [Wisdom] was there; when He drew a circle upon the face of the deep and stretched out the firmament over it,

28 When He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep,

29 When He gave to the sea its limit and His decree that the waters should not transgress [across the boundaries set by] His command, when He appointed the foundations of the earth–[Job 38:10, 11; Ps. 104:6-9; Jer. 5:22.]

30 Then I [Wisdom] was beside Him as a master and director of the work; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, [Matt. 3:17; John 1:2, 18.]

31 Rejoicing in His inhabited earth and delighting in the sons of men.”  Proverbs 7:22-31

This next one is from Job when the Lord confronted him:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare to Me, if you have and know understanding.

5 Who determined the measures of the earth, if you know? Or who stretched the measuring line upon it?

6 Upon what were the foundations of it fastened, or who laid its cornerstone,

7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”Job 38:4-7

So, we have through these and other passages a glimpse into eternity past where God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit lived in constant unity, love, and joy. Notice the number of references to the emotions of God and those in His midst; joy, delight, rejoicing, good pleasure, gracious, merciful love.

This was the atmosphere of the Heavenly realm where God lived with the created beings; angels before time began.

It is a reflection of Who He is and what His presence brings with continuous shouts of Holy, Holy, Holy!

Now I know what I just wrote can sound rather religious with pipe organ music playing especially the Holy, Holy, Holy part but I want to pull back the traditional curtain for a moment and step out a bit and show you something else about this scene with the smoke-filled backdrop and every creature bowing in reverential fear and awe.

They really have no choice in the matter even though they have absolute freedom to choose what they do. You see this is what being in His presence does to a creature. It totally messes you up, in a good way.

Those of us wild and crazy charismaniacs and Spirit filled spontaneous prophetic worshippers know this experience firsthand. When His Presence shows up you are either going to run for cover or enter in and get slap happy drunk on His glory to where you lose it and really can’t tell where you end, and He begins.

Paul called Him and rightfully so, a consuming fire. I have a new album I’m working on with that title.

It is where we go in to and experience; body, soul and spirit – true worship of the Living All Powerful, All Loving Abba Daddy Father God.

King David was an imbiber of this majestic glory when he said “O taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Paul and the early church were regular imbibers as he clearly states in Ephesians 2, and I paraphrase;

“Stop wasting time getting drunk on wine and just get filled to overflowing with the new wine of the Spirit; speaking in psalms, and hymns, and unwritten, spontaneous Spirit songs which is what happens when you imbibe of His Holy Presence to the point of being consumed by Him as if by fire.”

The point of this last rant is folks, there’s been a party going on from all eternity past in the Heavenly realm where created beings have been lost in the glory of His presence for a long, long time to the point that all they have left to say about Him is “Holy, Holy, Holy” as they behold Him in new ways continually with a steady stream of revelation of His very being and essence and where you just can’t get enough of Him and have an ever increasing craving for more of Him.

You might go so far as to say it is a Holy addiction to the Holy Presence of God.

David had glimpses of this experientially through His intimate, unabashed, uninhibited worship of Him when He said,

“You will show me the path of life, in Your Presence is FULLNESS of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11.

Jesus asked His Father before He left us “And now that I am coming to You; I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My joy may be made full and complete and perfect in them ( that they may experience My delight fulfilled in them. That My enjoyment may be perfected in their own souls, that they may have My gladness within them filling their hearts).

Then He spoke to His disciples and said, “I have told you these things that My joy and delight may be in you and that your joy and gladness may be of FULL MEASURE and complete and overflowing.”

So, if this is the state of being that was on Jesus’ heart and mind so much so that it was the last thing He asked the Father for before facing His passion then why in the world would we not take full advantage of it? I ask myself this question and you can reach your own conclusions for yourself. I know the biggest robber of my joy is me and taking myself way to serious. How bout you?

We think sometimes that when we worship God we are giving something to Him that He must need since we are told over and over again to worship Him. We miss the point when we think like this and there’s not much joy in it either.

We are invited to worship Him because when we do, we experience Him, can even become consumed by Him as the first disciples were to the point that He consumed them with so much of His Spirit Presence that Fire came out of their heads and they couldn’t help themselves in singing and speaking out the praises of God and just how good He really is in Holy Spirit language that everyone could understand as if it was in their own native tongue! (just a thought or maybe it was in their own language)

O for just a taste of how good He really is, and we will never be the same. Talk about an endless party, love fest of divine infinite proportions. I think we, as His people owe it to ourselves to imbibe of His Holy Spirit in unabashed surrender and just dive in and let Him consume us. We just might experience a surge of joy inexpressible and full of glory.

No wonder on that night of nights, when Jesus came the angels couldn’t help themselves in shouting and singing “JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME, LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING”!

Be being continuously, joyfully, infilled to overflowing, with the fullness of His Holy Spirit worshiping the Lord of Joy and you will know and experience His Joy.

 

Chapter seven

Unto Us a Child is born…

This is the most amazing expression of God’s affirmation and stamp of approval upon mankind of all; that He would become one of us.

He didn’t come as an angel or any other manifestation, He became a man; a human being just like you and me. He willingly did this for us for there was no other way for us to be brought back into right relationship with God; our creator.

Paul describes the mystery this way, “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.

8 And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!

9 Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name,

10 That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.: Philippians 2: 5-11

As this passage concludes everyone with a knee will bow and with a tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is Lord. It’s important to note that the word Lord which has become diluted in meaning actually in Greek means that He is God.

So the plan and transition agreed to before time began was that the Eternal Son of God would lay aside his power and authority temporarily and become a human being subject to all that being human means in the ultimate extreme act of humility and then go further to walk out in obedience the charge given to Him from the Father to become sin who personally knew no sin, go to the cross; suffer and die not just for us as a substitute for us but actually as us ( more on that later).

For this reason, Paul states He has now been not only restored to His preeminence as the Eternal Son of God but much more; as the Savior of the world. Mission accomplished.

God so loved us, that He actually became one of us. He remains now and for all eternity; in His resurrected and glorified human body.

We are a few weeks away from Christmas as I’m writing this chapter. Mari, my wife is busy decorating today putting up the tree and the wreath on the door and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Christmas music is on the airwaves, in the shops and fills the air at Destin Commons and other venues.

It is truly an amazing time of the year and we even hear people saying “Merry Christmas” in spite of the PC “Happy Holidays”.

We just got back from a ten-day trip to see family and spent six days of it with our family in Maryland where we had a great time enjoying and providing some comfort to our twins; Brooklyn and Noah who both were in the midst of teething the whole time. They so wanted to be happy for us and tried their best but sometimes the pain was unbearable for them and they let us know about it.

They are just pulling up and standing and at any moment we were anticipating their first steps.

There’s just nothing more precious and vulnerable than a tender little baby. Completely needy. Completely dependent. With nothing to offer than their needy cries and their sweet smiles and squeals  of glee. When you look into their amazing little faces every emotion is there in raw, uninhibited expression ready to be released. As pure innocence as can possibly be seen in human form is there; in their precious faces.

I love the song “Mary did you know?” and the line that says, “when you looked into His face did you know you were looking into the face of God?” It’s quite profound and a bit provocative when you think about it to actual call a human baby God? But in reality, this is the case with the one given; even Jesus.

I would like to propose for thought that every time you look into a baby’s face you are seeing the face of God. Every attribute of God Himself is present in every human ever born as a reflection of His image. I’m certainly not saying that humans are God, but I press the point for us to consider just how much like Him we actually are.

As I shared earlier, every human thought, emotion, communication and action is a direct representation of the image of God. Even when it is perverted and flawed and downright sinful, regardless of the motivation the expression given in any moment reflects some aspect of the image of God. Even anger, jealousy, and rage. I’m not in any way condoning evil behavior but I am saying our ability to emote and express any thought or action is due to our being created in His likeness and image.

We know that God can be angry, jealous and express wrath. We don’t like to focus on it. It makes us uncomfortable and sometimes leads us to ask foreboding questions about why He’s that way. Which is really just a subtle way of questioning His character and whether He really is good all the time, but the Bible is clear on these matters.

The difference between us and Him is He’s not flawed so if these emotions and actions are His they are always from a place of perfect righteousness, justice, and usually if not always after an extended period of amazing patience and grace on His part. But the fact is He will not tolerate evil and will deal with it severely; period. If not in the moment certainly at the final accounting of all things in the future judgment. And there will be no escape from this with only one exception; receiving the free gift of salvation through the blood sacrifice of Jesus His Son.

So, let’s get back to Christmas.

Thinking about those tender, vulnerable babies once again.

Unto us a child was born. Unto us A Son was given. His name is Immanuel which means “God with us”.

God has always desired to be with us. In the garden He would come and walk and talk with them at the end of their day. He wanted to know how their day went. What new discoveries had they made or maybe just to spend time with them because He loved just being with them. And yes, even though He is all knowing, He still wants to know what’s on our minds and hearts as if He had to wait for us to tell Him.

That’s all He’s ever wanted is to know us and to be known by us with only one thing motivating Him; His eternal love for us that He could not contain and had to express. It’s just who He is.

So, He knew way before time began that He would have to give us His Son.

Sending Jesus into the womb of a young virgin was extremely risky. She would be an outcast and even could have been stoned to death for committing adultery under the law of Moses which God gave to him. This was the only logical conclusion to be reached since no one had ever been born from a virgin, so it was a legitimate risk. God had to visit Joseph through an angel in a dream to let him know that this was of Him and not to reject Mary as his wife.

Letting Jesus be conceived in her womb and carried for the nine months to be developed as a baby born an innocent, vulnerable child was a risk beyond comprehension subject to all the elements and human intervention to prevent his survival; Herod murdering all the babies in and around Bethlehem so that Joseph had to be warned in a dream to flee to Egypt until Herod was no longer a threat as an example.

This is without a doubt the most amazing risky venture of all time as this was the One who would show the world what God the Father was really like; to set the record straight and to get the people of God to see that they had tried to fit Him in a box to fit their own concepts of what He was like, to manage God so to speak and to keep Him at a comfortable arm’s length distance in a box behind the veil.

And yes, we all to some degree attempt to keep Him in a box at a comfortable distance, but He will have none of it. He intends on being known in His fullness.

And along came Jesus; in their face with His beaming, joyful continence healing the sick, raising the dead and sharing stories that actually showed a stark contrast to the God in the Box they worshipped.

Jesus was so human that they could not grasp how it was possible for Him to be the Messiah. They expected something entirely different and more militarily oriented.

His stories about His Father and His Kingdom of Love, mercy and grace so conflicted with their boxed in views that they could not tolerate His joyful, free expressions of unabashed grace and love that they rejected Him and turned Him over to be put to death in the cruelest manner known to man at that time; even the cross.

My challenge first to myself and then to you as you read this is to ask the question that I had planned to use as the sub-title of this book; “do I have God in a box?”

I would suggest that on some level we all do. We all have a limited concept of who God is and what He is really like. It’s a growing experience as life challenges this idea daily as we look around the world and see all the ungodliness, confusion, hopelessness and unexplainable misfortune. In the process we form theological ideas and arguments to deny or defend God as we see Him. We tend to look around us and make decisions about God from how we perceive life; both good and bad.

All of life is speaking to us continually about God. In the positive with all that’s good and even in the negative that shows us what’s wrong in the world. The fact that we can recognize evil is a godly quality because we know something’s not right and horribly wrong.

That sense of justice within us is a godly quality given to us by virtue of creation even though it too can be warped and flawed depending on what we choose to believe.

All of life is taken in faith. That’s another characteristic of our creator. He does everything by faith in Himself and His ability to make happen whatever He says. Something out of nothing. We too live by faith in whatever we have chosen to believe about ourselves, the world, and God.

Without a revelation of who He really is we are left to our own vain imaginations and flawed logic to figure things out. But once we think we know something we then live by faith in what we believe as if it is reality.

The purpose of my writing has been and will continue to be to share some insights and perhaps revelations that will challenge us to let Him out of the box and to seek to see Him as He actually is not just how we think He is based on our own experiences and limited ideas.

He wants to be known. He has made it possible to know Him. If we choose to seek Him, we will find Him.

To get to know Him even better up close and personal perhaps with new eyes that can even see Him in the innocent face of a child.

 

Chapter 8

Glory!

One of my business partners loves to shout, “Glory” as he gets a shot of fresh joy. It makes sense that he relates his joy to God’s glory because they are divinely connected.

So, what actually is Glory?

In Hebrew, it means “shine”. It’s the word Halal which is also linked to Halel for a shout of joy and praise. It might be said that when we praise with shouts of joy we shine; that light is released. Glory then is shining light when we shout with joy in response to the Lord. It shines the light in a revelatory sense on the goodness, graciousness, and greatness of God.

In Greek the word is “doxa”, it means “what evokes a good opinion that something has intrinsic inherent worth. “or you could say has value or weight.

It also corresponds to the Hebrew word “kabo” to be heavy. Both terms convey God’s infinite, intrinsic worth (substance, essence). dignity, glory, honor, praise, worship.

We are commanded to give glory to God. This can sound rather self-serving and from a human perspective even egotistical. But that’s from our perspective.

From God’s perspective for Him to be glorified is for Him to be revealed and therefore made known.

His greatest desire flowing from His Deeper Heart of Love is to be known by us; by you, personally.

The more revelation we receive of who He is the greater our capacity to know Him intimately.

This is what we were created for. It is our greatest reason for being and the purpose for our existence; to know and be known by our Loving Creator who prefers to be known as our Father, our Abba -Daddy.

He doesn’t just want us to know about Him. He really wants us to know Him in the most intimate way possible; to actually live inside of us.

We know as believers in Jesus that when we prayed to receive Jesus that He came into our lives. But do we realize that when He moved into our lives He brought the Father and the Holy Spirit with Him?

We acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit within and those of us who have experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit actually experience Him speaking and praying through us in a unique way when we pray in the Spirit. My experience with this, which by the way I resisted and preached against the first twenty years of my Christian life, has taken me to new levels and realms of experiencing Him intimately that are far too deep and private to ever share.

They are the private moments of intense Presence awareness that transform me and translate me to new and higher places than words can even begin to express.

If you have not taken that step yet in your experience with the Holy Spirit I encourage you to press in to this gift until you experience it and do not believe the lie that it’s only for some and not others. It’s the gift of intimacy that a Loving God will not withhold from anyone seeking it. Even hard-headed people like me. It’s truly a heart issue and the more you desire to know Him the easier and freer you will be to receive it.

So, we can identify with receiving Jesus by the Holy Spirit when we pray to receive Him and some have taken it to a deeper level by receiving the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit but do we actually make the connection with the fact that the God-Head, the Holy Trinity, actually reside within us?

We tend to think of the Father as the distant one in heaven on His throne with Jesus next to Him on His throne ruling and reigning in Heaven but that’s not the case. Yes, He and Jesus are in heaven on their thrones but we’re there too and they are in us here and now. That’s like having heaven living in us, right? It’s not just a place to go in the sweet bye and bye but a present reality now.

What does this have to do with glory? Everything.

Glory in essence is tangible revelation; the revealing of God as He is in three persons; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each works to bring “glory” or revelation to the other.

Jesus came he said to reveal the Father. He said frequently, “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Other places He said that He only did what He saw the Father doing of what He told Him to do.

On the day of His baptism the Father opened heaven and spoke, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Later on, at the mount of transfiguration; of the glorification of Jesus, He spoke again saying “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him”. Jesus was radiant and shined brightly in His glory. He was glorified by the Father.

Jesus spoke of glorifying the Father and asking Him to glorify Him.

And the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus when He returned to heaven has been glorifying Jesus since the day of Pentecost.

The deeper mystery here is that through the indwelling Holy Spirit we have the fullness of God living in us.

In Ephesians 1:17-20:

“[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe,

as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],”

Paul said in 2 Corinthians4:6-7 “For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah). However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.”

He says it profoundly and clearly in Ephesians 2:18 “For it is through Him that we both [whether far off or near] now have an introduction (access) by one [Holy] Spirit to the Father [so that we are able to approach Him].”

 And in 3:18-19 “That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”

To sum this point up, Paul says it all here in Colossians 2:9-10“For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].”

The glory of God is the shining light of revelation on the ultimate plan, purpose and desire of the Living God. That is to dwell, to make His home permanently within His children in a continuous, perpetual Love encounter where only Love can dwell. No more condemnation, guilt, fear, trepidation or separation. He took care of all of that, so we could experience His fullness of Love that produces Peace, and Joy in ever increasing measure.

As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and experience His transforming power and glory we become experientially more like Him and can experience more of His power living in and through us. It’s a purposeful desire and ambition that brings greater glory to God.

That’s something to make us all shout “Glory!”

 

Chapter 9

THE GREATEST GIFT

As I began writing this chapter, it was the Monday after Thanksgiving. In our home Thanksgiving is the kickoff of a month-long celebration leading up to Christmas. Mari starts the decorating usually the day after Thanksgiving. This year it started a bit earlier because we bought a beautiful new tree you see advertised a lot. It is amazingly life like but without the beautiful smell of a fresh natural tree. I planned to find some real garland to add to the decorating to add that amazing wonderful smell that sparks memories back to my childhood but never got around to it. Next year.

The tree is always the focal point of the Christmas decorations with the presents beautifully displayed beneath its branches and some even hidden in them. We relate to these images and see the symbolism in the evergreen tree and the lights and gifts of the Eternal Light of the World who came Himself as the greatest gift of all. We recall the story of the wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem who came bearing gifts to the King of the Universe as a young child; the Savior of the world; King Jesus.

A few years ago, after a period of several amazingly difficult years back to back, we began to see a bit of daylight and hope restored that better days were ahead.

I remember taking time before Christmas to do some searching to determine what was “the” gift that Jesus came to give us. I searched the Scriptures and found the answer that satisfied my desire to identify the gift. I then prepared and shared it with my family including my grandkids asking them to think about what “the gift” was.

What I found had a profound effect upon me and my family and marked a significant life changing and life altering experience for the better. It was the first step on a journey that led us back to the Deeper Heart of God and rediscovering a truth that had gotten misplaced in my attempt to make sense of what we had recently been through.

Not to belabor the point but often when life happens in unexpected ways that seem to run contrary to the “abundant life” we’ve been promised, the tendency is to look within to find the problem and answer the question, “what did I do wrong to cause all this?” It’s a downward spiral from there into confusion, uncertainty, and if not put in check condemnation which leads to depression, and despair.

Looking within to determine what went wrong and how to fix it is a dangerous place to go and a slippery slope into a dark place that is exactly the opposite of what the Lord would have for us. Looking to self for solutions is an empty place to find them and I find nowhere in scripture to support this endeavor.

One of the reasons for not going down this path is that I am the least objective person on the earth about me. I do not have the ability within me to accurately assess my reality nor anyone else’s. We are told not to judge. That includes ourselves.

We were never given the ability within ourselves to be completely objective. In order to be so, we would need to understand everything about everything and everyone simultaneously. There’s only one with that ability. It’s not us. Yet most of us live our lives thinking we are objective, rational beings when the facts do not support this assumption. We are subject to our emotions and experiences which are limited yet we make life choices as if we have all the information we need and the ability to accurately assess our situations and circumstances and draw accurate conclusions. We are limited and quite dependent when you get right down to it.

So about now you’re probably wondering, “where’s he going with all this?” Or maybe you are hoping I’ll get to the point.

The reason for this backdrop of thought is directly related to that life altering revelation I mentioned earlier about discovering the greatest gift. For the gift alters our perspective of ourselves and of our reality and establishes a solid foundation from whence life can begin to make perfect sense. It enables us to move past ourselves and to begin to experience the life and freedom we were destined for from before time began.

I love the passage from Luke when Zachariah who had been mute for the past nine months breaks loose with this prophecy relating to his new born son John and his future ministry pointing to Jesus;

‘ To bring and give the knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins.  Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit [us]  To shine upon  and  give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct  and  guide our feet in a straight line into the way of peace.”

The gift is described in this passage as to bring and give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness and remission of their sins. I highlighted the reason as “because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of God.” And this is the key to understanding “the gift.”

Paul nails it down in these verses from Romans 5;

‘ But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.  Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man’s] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness).  For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and  the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).’

The free gift of righteousness; God Himself putting us in right standing with Himself.

 This is the greatest of gifts. This is the gift Jesus brought to us who believe in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:21 lays it out clearly;

‘ For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].’

As you can tell, I’m a fan of the Amplified Bible which is usually spot on with interpretation from the original languages. In this case I particularly like the statement, “approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness.”

I also want to point out whose righteousness we become; the righteousness OF God.

This is clearly not a “works” thing that is to be strived after and achieved by our human efforts. The complete opposite is true. It is a gift; unearned, unmerited, undeserved as a result of His grace and love.

Imagine Holy God in His human form; Jesus, becoming sin who knew no sin and being set apart and made sin by His Father.

This transaction began in the mind of God before time began as I have previously pointed out. In real-time I believe it took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of the oil press where Jesus who knew no sin confronts His human destiny to become sin on our behalf.

In the Hebrew culture celebration of Passover, there are four cups that are drunk during the celebration. There is also a fifth cup that remains undrunk. The Hebraic tradition calls it the cup of Elijah waiting for him to come to announce the Messiah. According to research done by my good friend, Pastor John Rogers, there are biblical references to the fifth cup that point to it being the cup of God’s wrath. Five in Hebrew is the number for grace pictured as an open window.

As the fifth cup, this would be evident as the cup of judgment, condemnation and the full wrath of God being consumed by the One who is Grace Himself; Jesus our Messiah.

I believe that when Jesus asked the Father to let the cup pass if there was any other way it was this cup of judgment, condemnation and wrath that we deserved.  That He knew that this meant that He would be made sin by the Father in the next moment after spending all eternity past as righteous, pure, holy, and undefiled. He would now become in an instant polluted with everything vile, filthy, impure and worthy of the wrath and judgment of God.

In essence, He was about to became sin. Sin in this case was a noun which defined and represented the totality of the human condition in rebellion against Almighty God. Yes, it also includes bearing our sins as well as our sicknesses and diseases and all that was the result of the fall of man.

This is what was deplorable and despised by Jesus. Not the suffering ahead of Him but actually becoming sin. But for the joy set before Him, He was willing to endure the shame of the cross.

He was the spotless Lamb of God who from eternity past had never known sin now at the crossroads of all eternity, in the garden of the olive press drinking it all in and becoming sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. What a moment. What an exchange. What a gift.

The pressure of that moment when He said, not my will but yours be done crushed Him under the weight of the sin of the world so that His human body sweat great drops of blood. The full price paid for the free gift to us of His righteousness.

This is the foundation of our acceptance before God where He pronounces us “not guilty” due to the innocent One taking the guilt, shame, condemnation and judgment of Righteous God.

The depth of our identity with this transaction will be explored in the next chapter but our identification with His suffering, His death and His resurrection are inseparable. As Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the body I live by the faith OF the Son of God.” Galatians 2:20

The life process of a believer is to grow in our awareness of who we have now become; new creations who are declared holy and righteous by God Himself. Not by anything we did to deserve it but completely by grace as a free gift. We are righteous by and because of His blood. Washed clean forever to the extent that God says He remembers our sins no more. (Hebrews 10:17)

Freedom to live beyond our limitations depends on how well we believe what God says about us; we have been made the righteousness of God in and through Christ Jesus.

It is essential that we come into agreement with God and even let our words reflect this truth. I daily remind myself even out loud that I am the righteousness of God in Christ.

This awareness is transforming and comes with the support, prompting and power of Holy Spirit. Jesus said that this was His primary purpose for sending Holy Spirit to us as believers. In John 16:10 He says He is sent to convince us of righteousness because He (Jesus) was going back to the Father.

When we come into agreement and partner with Holy Spirit that we are the righteousness of God in Christ, He is there to amplify the revelation of the gift of righteousness. This is our primary weapon to fortify us against contrary information regardless of the source. No matter what, this is who we are, and His primary responsibility is to continue to reinforce and remind us of this unchangeable truth. By doing so, He brings glory and honor to Jesus and to what He accomplished on our behalf.

We now live in the realm of a new reality; the Kingdom of God which is first of all Righteousness, then peace or Shalom resulting in joy. As we grow in our awareness of our right standing with God, we experience greater measures of His Peace or my preference is Shalom in the fullness of its meaning of well-being, wholeness, health, favor, prosperity, safety and security.

There are a multitude of scriptures that identify Righteousness and Peace being connected synergistically.

One of my favorites is (my transliteration) Psalm 85:8 “Grace and Truth have met together, righteousness and peace (shalom) have kissed.”

We know from John 1 that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” which translates as God’s unmerited favor ushered in the new reality of His Kingdom which was established (truth) and the result is righteousness and peace are joined in a kiss.

Through Jesus the righteous requirements of God are completely satisfied resulting in Peace between us and God through faith in His blood. This Peace Transends all limitations for all of time having removed the offense between us and God forever. All there is now between us is Peace; His Shalom.

Being aware of His Shalom produces joy. I love the word “joy” in the Greek. It is xara which means a leaning towards favorably and is closely associated with xaris which is the word “grace”. The essence of the word Joy in the Greek is linked to “being aware of God’s grace produces joy”. Joy because of grace; grace realized is joy.

Another way of looking at this is there is no joy without an awareness of God’s grace; His unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor. When we come to know and experience God’s Agape-Love for us in ever-increasing measure so will our Joy increase especially knowing His Love and goodness is undeserved by us.

His grace as an expression of His Love produces Joy in us experientially and it is the responsibility of Holy Spirit to see that we are filled up with it to overflowing. This ever-expanding growing process begins with us accepting the declaration and verdict of Almighty God,

“You are the righteousness of God in Him.”

This was the plan from before time began that on the night of all nights, after nine months in Mary’s womb, Almighty God would step into time and space in the form of a vulnerable newborn baby to bring into motion His ultimate desire. To bring us to Himself and forever declaring us righteous by the blood of the Lamb of God; Jesus Christ the Eternal Son of God.

Truly this is the greatest gift.

 

Chapter 10

In Him

As I conclude this book, I come back to where it started with the question, “Who are we?” As I have attempted to demonstrate, we can only know the answer to this question as we Know Him. In His fullness we find our fullness because we are after all created beings and discovering who we are is intrinsically linked to Who created us.

Our purpose for existence can only be discovered through a personal encounter with Our Creator. For that reason and to make the point, the remainder of what you will read will be written in the first person as if Your Creator is speaking to you. With His assistance, let’s begin. Where there are blanks, these are for you to write in your first name because He knows you on a first name basis. The Creator is the Triune God who said, “Let us make man in our own image” so He will be speaking as Abba-Daddy, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.

____________ My child, We have longed for you since long before time began. You were held in love as an idea formed and fashioned in My heart from eternity past. Yes, I have known you for all eternity. You know some of what this is like if you have your own child or a brother or sister that you waited for to be born and become a part of your family. The joy of anticipating the arrival of this new bundle of life and the love you felt even before they arrived is a glimpse of how We felt about you. You were our dream. But not just to form you and then have you born into the world, but so that you could come to know Us by becoming like us as a New Creation.

Your physical birth as a person with the freedom to choose just like Us with complete autonomy was Our Sovereign Will. You ____________ have freedom to choose to respond to Us in any way you decide. We do all we can to let you Know Us and to demonstrate Our love for you but in the end, you do get to decide how you choose to respond.

When you come to see Us as We truly are as demonstrated through My Son, Jesus and you choose to say “yes” to Him, Holy Spirit brings you into Our Family. My very life is planted in you by Holy Spirit and you are as Jesus said, “born again from above”. My very life comes in to live within you.

The best metaphor for what happens is the picture of baptism. Water as you know from what Jesus shared represents My Spirit. When you go into the water you become immersed, surrounded by the water. It’s like my Spirit coming and surrounding you but it has a deeper meaning as well.

The picture of baptism is said to show that you were buried with Jesus and then when you come out of the water you were raised with Him in His resurrection. However, before you can go under the water you first have to go into the water. Your confession of your faith in Jesus and what He did for you when He went to the cross is your identification with Jesus in His humiliation, beatings, and crucifixion. You came to realize He did this for you _________. Your confession of believing causes a spiritual transference to occur when you prayed and invited Him in or said “yes” to Him and to who He is and what He did for you.

It is said in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “’for him who did not know sin, in our behalf He did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him.”

I want to take you deeper in your understanding of what actually in reality happened to you ______. For this reason, I am asking Holy Spirit to give you a greater revelation than you have known before.  Will you agree with Me on this ____________, and ask Holy Spirit for fresh revelation and understanding of this amazing miracle that occurred when you said “yes” to Me?

Thank you, ____________. This is so important, but We will only go deeper with your agreement.

Jesus, My First born, always existed with Me in Eternity. I know this is hard to grasp but you can understand the idea of eternity by Holy Spirit who lives in you because He is eternal.

Jesus has always been pure, holy, not knowing sin. Sin actually means “falling short” of perfection. It’s a state of being which includes behaviors as a result of choices that fall short and are contrary to My Perfection. It is willful rebellion and must be judged, condemned and punished. It is out of agreement with My Righteousness and must be dealt with.

In your behalf, ____________, Jesus became sin. This happened in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus cried out to Me asking for the cup to pass from Him, if there was any other way. But He then said, “Not my will but your will be done.” Jesus was more than willing to suffer and die for you ______. In fact it was for the Joy set before Him that enabled Him to endure the hardship and anguish of the cross.

You ______, were that Joy.

Let Us hear from Jesus about this. ____________ ,

I loved you just as Our Abba loves you and I was willing to come, live, be beaten and crucified for you. What I struggled with that night in the garden of the Olive Press was the crushing and defilement of becoming Sin. You see, __________, I had never known sin, personally. I had of course observed it from the time of the fall of satan and those that followed him and the fall of man, but I had never known it nor experienced it.

What happened in that moment when I said “yes” to Abba is that all that you were that “fell short” fell on Me. Your sins not only fell on Me, but I became your sin. Your fallen state became mine. You and all your fallenness entered into Me at that moment and not only you ____________ but everyone else who would ever come to believe in me was in Me at that exact point in time.

From that moment on through the accusations, beatings, scourging, and nails in My hands and feet, you ________ were there with Me.

As in the times of the sacrifices, the guilty one would lay his hand on the head of the innocent lamb and press down confessing and releasing their sins into the lamb then they would cut the throat of the lamb and the blood would serve as a covering for one year.

In My case, as the Lamb of God, as you confessed your faith in Me, what took place on that day in the garden, you ______ were there in Me. This is something that can only be understood and discerned by the help of Holy Spirit. So, take a moment and ask for a deeper understanding and revelation before I go on. This is something you will grow in your understanding of as you continue to grow in your personal intimacy with Me.

Everything I endured that you read about in My Word, you were there _______ in Me.

When I was accused by the Sanhedrin, you were there ______ in Me.

When I stood silent before My accusers, you ______ were there in Me.

When I was whipped and scourged, you _________ were there in Me.

When I carried the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, _______ you were there in Me.

When I was nailed to the Roman cross, you ___________ were there in Me.

For six hours as I gasped for breath, as they hurled insults at me, you ________ were there in Me.

When I shouted, “It is finished” and breathed my last breath, yes, you ________ were there in Me.

When I was laid in the grave, you ___________ were there in Me.

When I descended into the depths to set the captives free, you __________ were there in Me.

When I arose on the third day in Resurrection Life, yes _________ you were there in Me.

And when I ascended on High to sit again next to Our Abba on My throne in Heaven, ______ you were and are even now seated there in Me.

And now the very life you live, you live by My Faith; the Faith of the Son of God.

My encounters with Paul gave illumination and revelation to these matters after I returned to My Place in Heaven. I came to Him and by Holy Spirit gave this knowledge directly to him because I wanted you and all those who are Mine to have a deeper revelation and understanding of who you are in Me.

Paul said this in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by (the faith of ) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

He said this in Romans 6: 3-10 “’ Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. 

For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].  We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.  For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men]. 

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].  Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.”

You see __________, you and your sinfulness, your sin nature, your unrenewed self actually suffered and died with and in Me.

You are now, in reality, a New Creation of Mine and are declared by Abba as holy, righteous and pure even as I am, so are you, in Me.

Your old patterns of behavior and sinful emotions remain in your memories and can manifest as if they still are your reality but this is not the truth. My truth sets you free from all of this as your mind is renewed by My Word and the washing of the Word by Holy Spirit. It is a process you are in of realizing and understanding all that you already are, in Me.

When you speak out My Word and My Truth Holy Spirit will convict, pursued, bring you into full agreement with your present reality. When you declare that you are the righteousness of God in Christ in the midst of your worst moments, Holy Spirit will restore you to sanity and align your thinking with your reality, in Me. You will know this by My Peace bringing your equilibrium back to the Truth of who you are in Me.

It’s the emotions of sin that are the problem that cause confusion and for you to doubt the truth of who you are in Me. But here’s the thing, they’re just emotions; feelings and not reality. You may feel bad for the things you said or did and that’s a good thing. It shows that you are not in agreement with them and that you know you are more than those things. Just come back into agreement and alignment with the truth and My Peace will be restored. Let My peace be the compass of your life and refuse to live without it. You can Know my Peace continually as I have provided it for you to guide your very life as you abide in Me.

Having a pure heart means that you are being real and transparent with Me and I greatly value and appreciate this. After all, I know the truth already. I just want you to be all I created you to be as a New Creation and all that you already are and not to settle for lower levels of living which only happens when you believe a lie instead of the truth of who you actually are in Me.

____________, My child, I want you to know the fullness of all I have provided for you. It comes from your complete identification with what actually transpired when my Son, Jesus gave His life for you.

You were there in Him and are now a New Creation of Mine empowered with My very Resurrection power for life on the inside of you. You can actually sense my tangible presence within you. I love to come and surround you and rest on you as I love on you and make you aware of My Presence.

I often do this to encourage you to step out in faith and to do the things that I can do in and through you as you trust in Me.

The New Creation is a perfect blending and integration of My Spirit with yours. My Presence brings your spirit; the core of your being, your personhood and personality; all I created you to be, to life and we are One in purpose, intent, emotions, dreams, visions and Spirit.

I make all that I Am, available to you and through you. All that I Am and have is yours, _________. Yes, I could create a whole new universe through your fingertips. There’s no limit to what I can do in and through you. We will spend all of eternity together as you grow in the understanding of our union and all that we can do together as you abide in Me. So, take the limits off from what you think you can and cannot do. With Me, there are no limits.

To experience my fullness, ____________ you must remain in My Presence continually, moment by moment. It’s fine and admirable to have dreams, visions and hope as a certain reality for the future but you can’t live there now. It doesn’t exist yet. You also have to as Paul said “forget the past” its in the past leave it there, you can’t live there either.

I Am the Eternal Now. Live in the “now” with Me. This is where you will find My Peace and Rest.

As Jesus once said “live today and leave tomorrow for itself”. I give you grace moment by moment and day by day. Live one day at a time. It’s all you are equipped for.

Leave the past with me. Jesus’ blood paid for it as well as your present and future. You were not designed for stress, anxiety and worry. It negates my Peace and puts more confidence in what you think will happen or what you have to handle rather than in the Reality of My Constant Presence, Protection and Provision.

I am always with You. I live within you in My Fullness; Father, Son and Holy Spirit as your Holy Triune God.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of My Son, Jesus and in My Love for you kept, led, and comforted by My Holy Spirit.

Focus on My Love for you and My love will effortlessly flow from within you to everyone you encounter. I am the source and overflow of Love for you and the world. And remember to love each other, with the love Holy Spirit has poured into your heart; My forever Love that has no end and no limits.

Knowing Me is the only way to fully understand who you are and why you are here.

The rest of your life can be and will be an amazing adventure as we partner together into the purposes, plans and destiny I have instore for you; for your greater good and for the advancement of My Kingdom in the earth.

You are mine and I am yours. Live in My fullness all the days of your life and then in the blink of an eye you will step into Eternity with Me. I have so much more to share with you and just wait to you see what I have planned for you _______.

Not the end, just the beginning…

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We Win!

As I sit here in the dark in my room in the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, I’m watching the sunrise between two twin towers; Encore and Wynn. I’ve been having a conversation with the Lord with a heart full of gratitude for His goodness to me. Overwhelming, beyond comprehension, immeasurable goodness. It’s fresh on my mind as I was rereading Bill Johnson’s book on the plane yesterday chapter one of The Goodness of God, He really is that good. Yes, he really is.

My journey of life that has brought me to this moment in time is a story of His constant goodness. No matter what life has thrown at me, He has always been with me sustaining me by His grace and love.

I am quite overwhelmed this morning with gratitude. One week ago I was in preparation for a colonoscopy at Mayo Clinic. It was His lack of peace that sent me away from surgery to remove a foot of my colon that lead me to Mayo Clinic after crying out to Him in desperation for His peace to return, not so much for direction as for His peace.

It had departed during my consult with the surgeon that made the removal of a foot of my large intestine sound as routine as replacing a bicycle tube that went flat at a bike shop. It left me in such a distraught state of mind that I can’t remember being in such a disturbed place absent of peace. You see I have an addictive personality, I’m an addict. I’m addicted to His Peace; His Shalom. I can’t live a moment without a conscious awareness of it or I quite frankly will loose it.

As I cried out in desperation to Him I heard, “Mayo Clinic”. Immediately I was flooded like a dry river bed with a flash flood of His Peace. So now a week later, I still have my colon, it’s better than ever and I sit here watching the sunrise over the mountains that surround Las Vegas.

I love Las Vegas. It’s a great amazing place with great people and many who know and love the Lord. It’s much more family friendly than in it’s former days. It just needs a touch from the Redeemer’s hand to bring it to its fullest potential. Join with me in praying for Las Vegas; the Meadow, which is its meaning in Spanish. When the Spanish first came here and came over the same mountains I’m looking at this morning, they came upon a beautiful lush meadow; thus its name. When settlers came with their cattle they overgrazed it and turned it into desert, or so the story goes. It is now the fastest growing city in America and worthy of our prayers for an Encore, emerging into a repeat but even better performance to fulfill its Kingdom destiny.

I stay here at Trump’s place because there’s no smoking and no gambling and it has a sense of all business in an elegant upscale fashion. Its across the street from the elegant shopping mall with Nordstrom’s and Macy’s and other high end stores.

I love to stay here at the end of a long day of travel before I head south to AZ.

The lights that spell out the two hotels across the way just went out as the sun begins to rise and take over the valley. The Encore and the Wynn. This is what prompted me to write this morning as I contemplated in my waking moments before drinking my double bergamot Earl Grey morning tea; these names.

As I was talking with Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit I mused over these names and thought about my life up until now. Much of it has been an Encore. A come back for more and no matter what it may have looked like it has always been to Wynn or to WIN. To overcome and to Win.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite chapters of Romans, chapter 8 where after a list of challenges we emerge as More than Conquerors.

As believers, we will always come back for an Encore, for a repeat performance or for something brand new and we will always emerge victorious; we Win. All because of Jesus. It says earlier that If God is for us, who can be against us. If He gave us Jesus how much more will He feely give us everything else of less importance. Here’s how it reads in the Amplified:

‘ What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us?  He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself].  Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more  than that,  who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us.  Who shall ever separate us from the love of  Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  Just as it is written  and  forever remains written,  “For  Your sake we are put to death all day long ;  We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter .”   Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors  and  gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].  For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced–beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present  and  threatening, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

As long as we have breath, we will continually be brought back from whatever challenges we face for an Encore and as as the sun rises and the darkness is dispelled written across our lives is the statement, We WIN!

 

WHAT COMES IN LIKE A FLOOD?

For years I have heard the verse in Isaiah 59:19 interpreted two ways;

  1. When the glory of the Lord comes in like a flood, the enemy…
  2. When the glory of the Lord comes in, like a flood the enemy…

You can read it both ways in various translations but I prefer the first version.

Today, however, I was reading a post that used the second one about the “enemy coming in like a flood” and decided to explore the verse in more depth. What I found was astounding and has altered my understanding to yet another interpretation. It is for this reason that I am writing this and am quite excited to share what I discovered.

When I want to go deeper I use the interlinear version of the original Hebrew translation and then do individual phrase and word studies to study the meaning of the word and also the meaning as expressed in the specific context where it is found.

Here is my understanding / translation from what I discovered. I will give it in its entirety and then I will provide the back up support that I discovered.

When His glory comes in like a river, like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river, the Spirit of the Lord (His ru ah; breath, wind, Spirit) shall drive it on, and shall come to Zion the Redeemer.

So here is how I came to this conclusion:

First of all, the statement “When His glory comes in like a flood or river”, is clear in the Hebrew. The passage can only be interpreted this way when you read it in the original Hebrew. “Enemy” or “adversary” actually is one word in the sentence that doesn’t fit or make any sense unless you look at the contextual meaning which I will share in a moment.

The word translated “flood” is the word “nahar” which actually translates as river not flood. It also is the meaning in the interpretation of the context in which it is used.

The controversial word in this passage is the word “adversary” which is translated in many translations as “enemy” which of course we tend to interpret as the devil all though if you read the full chapter there is no reference made to the devil but rather evil people doing evil things that actually gives a vivid description of what we see going on in the world today.

their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their paths and highways.” Isaiah 59:7

“Rebelling against and denying the Lord, turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving in and muttering and moaning from the heart words of falsehood.

14 Justice is turned away backward, and righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) stands far off; for truth has fallen in the street (the city’s forum), and uprightness cannot enter [the courts of justice].

15 Yes, truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.”

As we can see this is a reference to evil people rebelling against God. No devil here all though we all know where evil resides within people, the devil can’t be too far behind.

This verse has been worn out as a verse for spiritual warfare and I get the intent but in some ways it tends to glorify the power of the enemy, especially when the version number 2 is used.  As I am about to show you, the devil or enemy or adversary is not found in the original Hebrew text.

So the controversial word in the verse is the word “tsar” which can be translated as adversary however it often means to restrict or limit or narrow as in a tight place or strait.

In this verse “tsar” is interpreted to mean “like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river. This is according to Brown-Diver-Briggs. Here’s how the definition of “tsar” appears in their definition:

Definition
  1. narrow, tight
  2. straits, distress
  3. adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor
  4. hard pebble, flint
NAS Word Usage – Total: 7
cramped 1, limited 2, narrow 2, rushing 1, tight 1

As you can see, adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor is the third definition and is not even mentioned in the NAS word usage dictionary.

So if you are with me so far and can accept that this verse is not talking about “the enemy” then you will see how the verse flows beautifully as a simile of the power and glory of the Lord acting on our behalf.

‘When His glory comes in like a river, like a contracted (and hence swift, powerful) river, the Spirit of the Lord (His ru ah; breath, wind, Spirit) shall drive it on,”

The Spirit of the Lord… the word in Hebrew which many are familiar with is ru ah. It has a beautiful expressive meaning that speaks of the Lord’s breath as when He breathed, His ru ah into Adam and he became an animated living being. Jesus also gave the picture of the Holy Spirit being as the wind that no one knows where it comes from or where it is going.

So in the context of this verse we see the active, powerful, purposeful force of the Spirit of the Lord like a mighty, swift, powerful river of His glory driving it on to its intended purpose which was to bring the Redeemer, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah to Zion.

The beauty of this passage has gotten lost and caused confusion over one word that unfortunately has been, in my humble opinion, misinterpreted.

The context of Isaiah 59 is of the Lord taking matters into His own hands to bring His salvation which is literally the word Yeshua – Jesus as the only solution to the world’s problems.

It is stated best in this verse:

“He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor [no one to intervene on behalf of truth and right]; therefore, His own arm brought Him victory, and His own righteousness [having the Spirit without measure] sustained Him. 17 For [the Lord] put on righteousness as a breastplate or coat of mail, and salvation as a helmet upon His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal [and furious divine jealousy] as a cloak.” Isaiah 59:17

So [as the result of the Messiah’s intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun.” Isaiah 59:19.

I love the Amplified Version but in this verse they jump the track and put the emphasis on the enemy until the last part of the verse which captures what I discovered today and I think reinforces my interpretation when it says:

..”for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives.”

The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately in references to His Mighty Wind and emphasizing that HE IS ON THE MOVE.

On May 15th, he gave me a vision of a whirlwind coming that was on fire; a fire tornado. He then downloaded the song “Fire Wind” which speaks of the overwhelming transforming power of His Presence in the imagery of a Fire Whirlwind consuming all in its path.

Two days later a prophetic word on the Elijah List gave the same imagery and referenced the verse which I was not aware of at the time I wrote “Fire Wind” which was Psalm 50:3

 “Our God comes and does not keep silence; a fire devours before Him, and round about Him a mighty tempest rages.

4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that He may judge His people:”

As I read and did a deeper study of this passage, I discovered that “judge” in this context is of the Messiah King coming to establish order on behalf of His people and not to a reference of judgment.

He goes on to offer the invitation for His people to come directly to Him, King Jesus, in their day of trouble and He personally will intervene and rescue them. It is a personal, intimate, closeness that He invites us to experience when trouble comes.

There is no word of correction or warning in the word “judge” but rather the Ruler of the Universe bringing order and alignment with His Kingdom rule and purposes.

By the way, May 15th was the Day of Pentecost following our celebration of Easter / Resurrection Day which I found out later that day after writing the song that referenced the Day of Pentecost. I know that the actual Jewish Pentecost was in June but I thought it meaningful that the song came on that day.

The purpose of sharing this is to emphasize what I am hearing from the Lord and what has been reinforced from prophetic voices around the world; The Lord is on the move!

We have been working, waiting, praying, believing, declaring and waiting some more for what has been in our hearts to be brought forth for the Kingdom in the world.

I believe the waiting is over and that King Jesus, is personally on the move to bring His Kingdom order to our lives in the midst of all hell breaking loose in the world.

If you would like to read some of the words that have spoken clearly about these things lately, here are some links:

Tania Hall: “God is Pouring His Tempest of Fire”

Johnny Enlow: “Then the Lord Awoke…”

Cindy Jacobs: “There’s Going to Be a Wind in Your Sails”

 

Let him who has ears to hear listen for the voice of the “Wind” and get ready. The Lord is on the move on behalf of His saints; the people of His Kingdom.

 

THE LAMB OF GOD

Chapter 4

The Lamb of God

Throughout Hebraic history the most outstanding foreshadowing of Jesus is in the Passover Lamb. Early mention of animal sacrifices shows the understanding of substitution. Abel the second born human understood this and offered an animal sacrificed; perhaps a lamb before the Lord and it pleased Him.

His brother brought the produce of the land from the work of his hands and was rejected.

The sacrificial ritual was known by Noah and then later by Abraham. All the ones that followed after God understood the need for a substitute, a sacrificial lamb to cleanse and remove the barrier of sinfulness between them and a Holy God.  It was clear that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sins.

All of these were foreshadows of the ultimate Lamb who would come, even Jesus our Lord.

The prophet John the Baptist-or said of Him when He came to the Jordon River, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”

Passover officially begins this evening (Friday April 22nd) this year and I have been compelled to share this portion at this time as it is upon us.

As the title of this work implies, this is my attempt to share the deeper heart of God as He has revealed to me in certain ways as I have meditated upon His Word and grown in my knowledge and experience of Him personally. Also as I have received teaching and revelation from others that I will be sharing and quoting at times.

One that I am going to share a passage from is actually from something I wrote a number of years ago; a short story called “Seven Days to Glory”. It is written as a journal entry by my name sake; the Apostle James. I think it captures best what I would like to share that reveals an insight into the deeper heart of God as revealed in the Passover.

To set this up, let me remind you that the Lord chose to be represented not by a full grown ram at Passover even though He was in the case of Abraham and Isaac but as a young and vulnerable baby lamb.

 

“Too many questions raced through my mind for this time of day. Breakfast would be light this morning as we prepared for the evening Passover meal and my thoughts began to awaken to the significance of this day. Today was the day for the Passover Lamb to be slain. The tender, tame, family lamb that by now had become the family pet.

For days before Passover, the tradition required the lamb to be chosen and placed in the care of the homemaker. She would bring the lamb inside the home and he would have free run of the house. The children loved this time of year when an animal would run through the house jumping, bumping, playing, baaing, tumbling with the children in continuous scurrying fun.

At evening, the lamb would be tied to the leg of the table drinking milk from a bowl lovingly placed by one of the children who always jostled for who would be closest to the lamb that night. They often named them sweet, pet names and sometime made garlands for their necks from flowers in the fields. The trick was to get it on them without them eating it first. And so it was in the home where we stayed but today the lamb would serve the purpose for which it had been chosen. Perfect, without blemish, pure white, soft, woolly, with distinct dark feet and muzzle, washed and ready for the moment of truth.

The father would take the lamb and gently lead it with the children following.

They would give it one last hug and kiss and often with tears speak soft words of comfort and sweet tender good-byes and then it was over. Blood soaked wool, crimson fleece, lifeless form, blood splattered ground.

The mother would receive the portions of fresh mutton prepared for the fire as the father painted the doorposts, across the top and both sides with the hyssop dipped in the blood of the freshly slain lamb.

A tender sacrifice of love lost and life given. Protection from the darkness of death, passing over the powerless, depending solely on the sacrificial substitute whose life was given that they might live.

Glorious mystery of salvation transmitted through time wrapped in the sublime message of hope through a splattered blood covering, from a sacrificed innocent lamb.” From Seven Days to Glory  © 2004.

I love to celebrate the Jewish tradition of Passover with the Seder dinner. It is full of hidden mysteries that all point to Jesus our Messiah.

One thing you will not see at a modern Passover is a slain lamb.  Since AD 70 and the destruction of the temple this practice is not observed. Prayer is offered instead.

The ultimate reason that the practice no longer exists is that the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world came. Jesus the Messiah who Isaiah prophesied five hundred years earlier would come as it says in Isaiah 53:5-7 “5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.

6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him

for the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.

Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.”

Like a lamb led to the slaughter is a grim yet revealing statement that gives a glimpse into the deeper heart of God.

The willingness of Jesus to endure His passion in a state of complete vulnerable innocence is the greatest mystery of all time. We will marvel at this for all eternity and I believe we will grow in our appreciation and depth of understanding of this remarkable event where time and eternity converge.

It’s hard to think of something as gentle, innocent and vulnerable as a baby lamb. This is what Jesus longed to become for us. In fact, He was overwhelmed with emotion of anticipation looking forward to the last Passover He would celebrate with His disciples.

Listen to what He said that night before His betrayal in the Young’s literal translation in Luke 22:15:

and he said unto them, `With desire I did desire to eat this Passover with you before my suffering,”

There’s the double words again that give great emphasis to what is being said. I studied the Greek for the word “desire’ in this passage and here is what it said:

Desire- epithumia: desire, passionate longing, lust. Eagerness for, inordinate desire. It comes from two words, epi “focused on” (like epi-center) and thymos “passionate desire” properly built on strong feelings (urges).

The second time the word is slightly different. It is epithymeo. To show focused passion as it aptly builds upon what a person truly yearns for; to greatly desire to do or have something- to long for, to desire very much.

So what I see is a strong overwhelming desire that has evolved and intensified from having a focused passion a truly great yearning to do or have something. Something that has been longed for and desired very much.

Jesus is passionate about this final Passover before His passion; His suffering. What is it about this Passover meal that has caused Him to have these strong, overwhelming desires?

I think it is the fact that this is the culmination of all time and eternity converging in this one moment that will completely satisfy the passionate longing and desire of God that we previously discussed.

To put this moment in perspective, all that the Father and Jesus before He was born and before time began agreed to do was about to be accomplished and was being demonstrated in the very meal they were about to eat. This meal was representing His body and His blood about to be sacrificed and poured out as the sacrificial Lamb of God; once for all time and eternity removing all barriers and distance between God and us once and for all.

This was the deep mystery hidden in the recesses of eternity with clues and glimpses scattered throughout the Old Testament of the plan, culminating in this one single event that would mark and divide time forever.

The fall was not a surprise to an All knowing Omniscient God. The plan for our redemption was determined way before the fall and even before the creation of the world. It was a complete plan that included creating man in God’s likeness with total autonomy in our ability to choose or reject God. Yet because of the depth of the Love of God for us and His creation, He planned in advance for our redemption in the most amazing mysterious manner imaginable; to become one of us.

It was what Jesus was born to do and that He and His Father had planned from eternity past. To reconcile fallen humanity back to Himself and to destroy the works of the devil once and for all; stripping him of all power and reclaiming the authority stolen from mankind in the garden. Reversing the curse and reclaiming all that was lost in the fall. Destroying in the process all the works of the devil and his hold over humanity.

Jesus was the second Adam, the one who would take the full penalty for the rebellion of the first Adam and all his children who had or who would ever inhabit this planet and restore us back to our Creator; the one who loved us with an eternal everlasting passionate love that couldn’t be extinguished even with mankind rejecting Him fully. Not even recognizing the One Who made us when He came as one of us.

John said it this way: “There it was–the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person.

10 He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him].

11 He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own–His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.

12 But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name.” John 1: 9-12 Amplified Version.

BUT TO AS MANY… Here’s another BUT that displays the amazing grace of God. As many as received and welcomed Him. The whosoever will… of John 3:16. The open invitation which still exists to this very hour for anyone who will come to Him believing and willing to receive Him. There it is again. God Almighty respecting our autonomy and freedom to choose. This is not difficult though theologians would attempt to make it so over the years since Jesus came.

Those who call upon Him as Lord will be saved; set free from themselves and given new life in Jesus. His very life coming to dwell “in the midst of us” by His Holy Spirit. Awakening dead souls and breathing the breath of life into them but now for eternity; Eternal Life breathed in; the very life of God into our beings forming new creations in His likeness who will live forever. Death defeated. We will live forever.

This is the deeper heart of God revealed in the passionate desire of Jesus to not only eat the last Passover meal but to become the Passover Lamb; once and for all and to take away the barrier of sin from the world in the greatest demonstration of pure, undefiled, sacrificial love; expressing the heart and longing of God. This and only this could satisfy that deep longing, desire of God. That great, wonderful, intense love for us that had to be satisfied. This was the only way it could be done.

Here stands the God of the Universe who created all having become a man and willingly, like a lamb being led to the slaughter to take our place and receive the judgment of God for us to bring us back to Himself where He could share His deeper heart of love with us; the objects of His greatest affection and love.

Behold, the Lamb of God.

 

How Bout Some Good News

HOW BOUT SOME GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE?

In the chaos and turmoil of a world that appears to be under siege by terrorist and evil people, it sometimes helps to take a step back and look at the big picture. I certainly want to know what’s going on in the world but there is an unhealthy preoccupation with the worst of the worst events taking place in the world.

The media in a frenzy to stay on top of the latest “breaking news” can in my opinion become the pawns of those perpetrating evil in the world by spotlighting with endless hours of reporting of horrible events running the same footage over and over and over again as a backdrop. All for the ratings and  at the same time providing free air time and exposure for those committing the atrocities.  After all, these small but determined groups are out to gain public awareness for their cause and what better way to do it than in ways the media cannot ignore.

No doubt bad stuff is happening and will continue to happen until it can be contained which it should be by any means necessary to protect innocent lives.

All that said, the devastatingly horrible events of last week in Paris demonstrate what desperate people will do to draw attention to their misguided cause even to the point of self-destruction and destruction of innocent people.

For the record, Christians suffer under more persecution than any other people group on the planet and from a multitude of violent misguided groups from Islamic terrorist to Indian Hindu’s to Chinese Communist even to persecutors here in the United States who deny religious freedom in the land whose money declares, “In God We Trust” and with a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech, conscience and religious beliefs.

But all that is for another discussion.

I want to turn the page to what is happening that can be considered,

“Good News” in our world today.

I was recently reading some amazing statistics about the growth of Christianity in the world today, which in reality is the only hope for the world now and in the future.

In the midst of the “doom and gloomer’s” who point to all these things as signs of the end of time  being in sight causing fear and trepidation among God’s people and an escapism mentality that looks forward to more bad things happening so Jesus will show up and rescue us from the mess, there is a much more hopeful view that I’m hoping some of the “good news” I’m about to share will instill.

Here’s a portion from chapter 10 titled “The Kingdom Advancing”  from “Raptureless! An Optimistic Guide to the End of the World” by Jonathan Welton. (Click here for the entire book: RAPTURELESS  )

Historical Perspective

Many Christians have a hard time viewing the future optimistically because they have a lack of perspective regarding the past. When they look back, they think that they are seeing “the good ol’ days.” However, with a better grasp on history, we will see that God’s Kingdom has, in fact, been steadily progressing forward. To see this improvement, we must lift ourselves to a higher perspective, from which we can look over the course of history. We know what life is like today; let’s compare it to the conditions of society in the past.

The Early 1800s

First, let’s look at what life was like in the United States 200 years ago—in the early 1800s. At that time, the population was slightly over 5 million, but 20 percent of those people were slaves (that’s more than 1 million slaves). Abortion was legal during most of the 19th century, and according to the records, one fifth of all pregnancies were aborted (Michigan had the highest rate at 34 percent). Also, in many states, the age of sexual consent was as low as nine or ten years old, and prostitution was commonplace. New York City estimated having a ratio of one prostitute to every 64 men, and Savannah estimated a ratio of 1 to 39.

This was also the time of the pioneers and covered wagon trains heading westward. Thousands relocated to the “wild west,” looking for gold and a fresh start. When gold was discovered, the gold rushes created the most despicable and dangerous of communities. In fact, throughout the West, murder was so common that most people carried a gun for protection. Even in safer frontier communities, no organized churches were formed until years after settlements had been established. At the same time, tens of thousands of American Indians were murdered or forced from their lands, and thousands of Chinese people were imported on the western coast as slaves.

During that time period, women had virtually no rights. Not only were women not allowed to vote, but their husbands were legally allowed to beat them as long as they avoided maiming or killing them. Also, alcoholism occurred at a much higher rate than it does today.

Although some godly people were laying the foundations for the U.S. government and other good things were happening, from these simple statistics, we can plainly see that morally, ethically, and spiritually the climate of the U.S. was far worse than it is today.

The Time of Jesus’ Childhood

Looking even farther back in time, let’s examine the climate of the whole world approximately 2,000 years ago—the time when Jesus was a child. As we know, the Roman Empire ruled the world, with its primary cultural centers being in Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. Throughout the empire, slavery was commonplace—to the point that in Italy, the hub of the empire, about 40 percent of the population was slaves. Homosexuality was also the norm, especially between masters and slaves.

Many babies were killed after birth because of being deformed or sickly or even simply female.

Obviously, at that time, since Jesus was still a child, the Gospel had not yet arrived on the scene. The Jews had a revelation of God, yet they lived in disobedience, and it had been 400 years since a prophet had spoken on God’s behalf. Rather, most people worshipped a multitude of cruel and capricious gods, including Jupiter, Juno, and Neptune. Temple prostitution and ritual child sacrifice were a regular part of this religious system. This was also the era of the gladiators, and in the Roman arenas, people were regularly tortured to death or mauled by wild animals. Later, under Nero, this fate befell many of the early Christians. It is hard for us to understand, but the philosophers that Western society so praises—Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates—saw nothing wrong with these practices.

Ernest Hampden Cook, in his book The Christ Has Come, wrote:

The fact is that bad as the world still is, yet morally it is vastly better than it was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea…. Few people in these days have an adequate conception of the misery and degradation which were then the common lot of almost all mankind, owing the monstrous wickedness of the times, to continual wars, to the cruelties of political despotism, and of everywhere-prevailing slavery.

Outside of the Roman Empire, things were no better. In Africa, Asia, and Australia, people worshipped nature, demons, and their deceased ancestors. In North America, the American Indians had many forms of worship, and in South America, tens of thousands of people were regularly sacrificed to a bloodthirsty god. Yet throughout the whole world, no one knew the Messiah.

Truly, as we can see from this brief overview, the world was lost in darkness beyond what most of us can even imagine. This is what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “…formerly you, the Gentiles…were at that time separated from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:11-12).

Today

By comparison, let’s examine the world today. The Gospel is reaching even the remotest places in the world, and Christianity is experiencing phenomenal growth globally. In fact, worldwide, more than 200,000 people are being born again daily. In China, it’s 20,000 a day, and in South America, 35,000 a day. That adds up to more than 1 million people who are becoming Christians every work week. The tiny seed that came into the earth in that little nation of Israel has grown to permeate the earth.

Christianity is, in fact, the largest, most influential force of humanity in the world today.

Certainly, I am not saying our world is perfect or that global peace and utopia are just around the corner. Until Jesus’ return, the struggle between light and dark will continue. Difficult times of war, famine, disease, and poverty may yet happen in the future, and during such times, people are often capable of the most inhumane acts.

I am not denying the reality that life is sometimes tragic and excruciatingly painful. But I also want to highlight the definite reality that, though it is not anywhere near perfect living here on earth, it is consistently becoming morally, ethically, and spiritually better.

We must be watchful and hard at work, for we still have much to accomplish before Christ’s return, but we must do this with the understanding that we are gaining ground, not losing it. The increase of God’s government and peace is truly without end.

Many of you may have been stretched by the historical facts that you just read. You may need to read it a few more times to grasp the shift in thinking required of you. But when you are ready to be stretched some more, the following material from author James Rutz will take you even farther:

Status Update2

Rutz states that the growing core of Christianity crosses theological lines and includes 707 million born-again people, a number that is increasing by 8 percent each year. (This number excludes those groups that have essentially stopped growing because they are “so liberal in theology, so isolated in structure, or so rooted in…tradition.”) This growing core of Christianity is comprised primarily of charismatics, Pentecostals, and evangelicals—their main characteristic being that they are part of “expanding, connected, and easily countable networks.”

Though straight projections never work, it is interesting to note, as Rutz does, that the current growth rate would create a world composed entirely of what he calls “apostolic Christians” by 2032.

In fact, tongue-in-cheek, Rutz tells us that, according to statistics, by the fall of 2032, there will be more Christians than people on the earth.

The new realities Rutz is pointing at are clear. As he says, “The future of your world is being written at this very hour.” For example, Rutz points out:

  • Until 1960, Western evangelicals outnumbered non-Western (Latino, black, and Asian) evangelicals two to one.
  • In 2000, non-Western evangelicals had surpassed Westerners four to one.
  • In Latin America, traditionally a Catholic region, now has more evangelicals attending church on a Sunday morning than Catholics.
  • In India, “as soon as we produce some church models that are culturally acceptable to Hindus,” we may see between 70 and 100 million secret Indian Christians come forth.
  • More missionaries are now sent from non-Western nations than from Western nations

These facts about the new realities of Christianity are somewhat mind-boggling. As Rutz says, “God writes history, but human eyes have trouble reading his handwriting. It’s not that he writes too small, but too big.”

Every 25 Minutes

When the Spirit was first poured out on the early Church, 3,000 people were saved in one day. That was amazing. Back then, it was a huge number. However, today approximately 3,000 people get saved, somewhere in the world, every 25 minutes! The math is almost overwhelming.

According to Rutz, often these numbers happen though large events, such as the crusade that Reinhard Bonnke held in Lagos, Nigeria, in November 2000. During those six days and nights, almost 6 million people attended, and 3.4 million registered decisions to follow Christ, over 1 million of them being on the final night. One important element of such events is the widespread healing of all kinds of physical deformities, diseases, and illnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit. At Bonnke’s Nigeria event, over 1,000 physicians were present to examine people and confirm healing s. Bonnke also had 30,000 ushers and spent the six months prior training 200,000 counselors to assist the many converts.

Such massive influxes of new believers are not isolated events, but are increasingly becoming common occurrences. Some have even estimated the advent of a billion new converts within ten years.

“From our vantage point in North America and Europe, where church membership is going nowhere, this sounds like a cooked-up fantasy,” Rutz says. “But it is true. This is the biggest mega-shift in history. Can you think of any time when over a billion people eagerly changed their lives and loyalties in one generation?” Looking at the statistics, we can clearly see that, if growth continues at this rate, whole nations will experience transformation on all levels. In fact, as Rutz predicts, “We are in the early stages of a total transformation of our planet.”

The point of these statistics is clear. The “good ol’ days” were not as good as many of us have assumed they were. When we remove our romanticized lenses in order to see what really was, as well as what really is happening now, we can clearly see that God’s Kingdom is markedly advancing.”

Here’s some more “good news” to consider.

What about China?             

China may have as many as 200 million Christians and growing daily by an estimated  20,000.

“How many Christians are in China?

The lack of credible statistics on how many Christians are in China today have led to estimate that vary widely.

At one end, some Bible organizations claim that there are as many as 200 million Christians in China already.

This figure is corroborated by Xiaowen Ye, head of the Communist Party’s State Administration of Religious Affairs, who reported at a 2006 closed door meeting at Peking University in 2006 that the Protestants in China numbered 110 million.

2014 – 2006 = 8 years. Applying the same conservative annual growth rate of 5% (110 million x 1.05) over those 8 years also results in 163 million as the number of Christians in China as of 2014.*

163 million* is both a large and a small number. There are now more Christians in China than in the United States, but this number still represent only about 12% of China’s 1.4 billion people. As large as the Lord’s harvest is in China, it has only just begun.” Quote from Christianity in China.

“Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China. When the CCP took power in the mainland (excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau) in 1949, there were no more than one million Protestant Christians. Following decades of suppression and eradication, the CCP admitted in an official document released in 1982 that there were about three million Protestant Christians. Since then, estimates have varied. The Party-State has insisted on some very low-end estimates, suggesting about 23 million Protestant Christians in 2010; others—including missionary organizations outside China but also a reported internal document of the CCP—have made higher estimates, suggesting as many as 100 to 130 million in 2010. The Pew Research Center’s Report of Global Christianity, after carefully comparing the various estimates and reasoning through survey findings, reports that there were about 58 million Protestant Christians and 9 million Catholics in China in 2010. I think this is a more prudent estimate that may be used to make projections of future growth.” John Templeton Foundation

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years ( The Telegraph –UK 19 April 2014)

The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

WHAT ABOUT INDIA?

How India’s ‘Untouchables’ Are Stirring a Spiritual Revolution

10:00AM EST 11/18/2015 J. LEE GRADY

The growth of Christianity in India today is slowly changing the status of women. (J. Lee Grady)

India’s economy is growing, and its population may soon overtake China as the world’s largest. But behind these trends is something much bigger: Christianity is growing faster than government leaders will admit, and the spiritual changes are reshaping a nation that has been identified with Hinduism for thousands of years.

I saw this with my own eyes this week. A miracle is occurring in India that will shake the world in our lifetime.

What is most remarkable about the growth of Christianity in India is that the people spreading the gospel most aggressively are not foreign missionaries but indigenous evangelists who have been stuck at the bottom of the oppressive caste system.

Consider the case of my friend Prasad, who is a Dalit—otherwise known as an “untouchable.” Defying his background, he planted a church in a major city in southern India 20 years ago. Today he oversees more than 100 churches in his region, and he provides hot meals to 1,500 poor children every day at 20 feeding centers where the gospel is served along with rice and vegetables.

Another young pastor named David, who was trained by Prasad, recently moved into a one-room apartment in a slum community on the outskirts of a major Indian city. With a monthly income of less than $200, he and his wife are aggressively sharing Christ with children and adults. Both Muslims and Hindus are converting to Christianity because of the courage of a man who is classified by the caste system as “backward.”

Further south, in a region of India that is known for its ornate Hindu temples, a young evangelist named Raja operates a home for abandoned girls, provides food and clothes to neglected orphans and offers counseling to abused shop workers. He and his brave team use motorcycles to reach remote villages in tribal areas where many of the local Hindus are highly resistant to other religions. Even though he has been pelted with rocks and threatened, Raja has planted churches in 32 communities.

The cruel “untouchable” label was pinned on Prasad, David and Raja when they were growing up. Hinduism teaches that Dalits are outcasts who deserve to be at the bottom of the spiritual scale of human worth. Even though India supposedly outlawed the caste system years ago, Dalits still suffer horribly through social stigma, denial of education, bullying and discrimination in housing and jobs.

Yet despite the continued oppression, Dalits are the key reason the gospel is spreading so quickly in India today. The same people who were told they weren’t worthy enough to enter a Hindu temple are finding that Jesus Christ touched lepers, sinners and other “untouchables” of His day and invited them to dine at His table.

Everywhere I went in India this past week, I met people from the lowest caste background whose lives have been transformed by Christ. They have found true value and dignity after meeting Jesus.

And I was happy to worship with them, hug them, eat with them and remind them that there is no caste system in God’s kingdom.

An intense spiritual war rages in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected in 2014 as a self-avowed Hindu hardliner, is working with his pro-Hindu government to stop Christianity’s growth (as well as the growth of Islam). Acts of violence against Christians—including the burning of churches—have increased so much that Open Doors now lists India’s persecution status as “severe.”

But the violence isn’t stopping Dalit believers. As I ministered to groups of pastors this week, it was obvious that they have pulled the rug out from under the old system of Indian oppression. We can expect sweeping changes in India in our generation:

  • The caste system will disintegrate. Wherever Christianity goes, true prosperity follows. Today, born-again Dalits are getting high-tech jobs and graduate degrees; the underdogs are overcoming a system that was rigged to oppress them. The more Christianity grows, the more the caste system is becoming irrelevant.
  • The killing of baby girls will stop. At least 60 million female babies have gone “missing” in recent years because of either sex-selection abortion or infanticide. This is because many families simply prefer boys for economic reasons, so they killed their baby girls. As early as 1991, the Indian Census began to show a dramatic drop in the girl-to-boy ratio. But today, Christians are rescuing abandoned girls from trash bins and raising them to love Jesus.
  • The status of women will shift. In the past, Indian women have suffered silently from domestic abuse, social discrimination and sexual slavery. High-profile cases of violent rapes in the past few years have tarnished India’s global reputation. But now Indian Christians are challenging the dowry system—a tradition that requires families of girls to pay exorbitant fees to their prospective husbands. As Christianity spreads in India, the gospel is elevating the dignity of women, and Christians are educating girls and empowering them to be leaders.

My time in India this week convinced me that we will see a massive miracle unfold in India in our lifetime. A nation that was rigged to favor the rich is literally being turned upside down because poor “untouchables” have been touched by Christ.”

And what about the Muslim world?

Why Muslims Are Becoming the Best Evangelists

Missiologist Dave Garrison documents global surge in Muslims leading Muslims to Christ. He calls it, “Unprecedented.”

Interview by Timothy C. Morgan/ APRIL 22, 2014

Image: Courtesy, WIGTake Resources

Author Garrison subdivides the Islamic world into nine global regions.

After traveling 250,000 miles through Dar al-Islam (“House of Islam”) as Muslims call their world, career missiologist David Garrison came to a startling conclusion:

Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West.

They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar—of everyone. In the new book, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the world.

The first sizable movement of Muslims toward Christianity did not occur until the mid-19th century, nearly 1,300 years after Mohammad established Islam. Garrison said 69 of these movements today are still in process:

  • In Algeria, after 100,000 died in Muslim-on-Muslim violence, 10,000 Muslims turned their backs on Islam and were baptized as followers of Christ. This movement has tripled since the late 1990s.
  • At the time of the 1979 revolution in Iran, about 500 individual Muslims were following Christ. Garrison projects that today there may be several hundred thousand Christ-followers, mostly worshiping in Iranian house churches.

This really marks an unprecedented turning to Christ. I don’t think it’s ever been captured in a global sweep as it has been here.”

Islam in Fast Demise

In Africa Alone Every day, 16,000 Muslims Leave Islam 

By Ali Sina

“Hitler said if a lie is repeated often enough and long enough, it would come to be perceived as truth. One such lie often repeated is “Islam is the fastest growing religion”.

Despite the fact that Muslims by virtue of being poor and uneducated are much more reproductive than others, Islam as a religion is not growing but dying fast.

More and more Muslims are discovering that the violence evinced by some of their coreligionists is not an aberration but is inspired by the teachings of the Quran and the examples set by its author. Muslims are becoming disillusioned with Islam. They find out that the mechanistic ritual of praying five times per day, reciting verses that they do not understand and indeed mean nothing, getting up at taxing hours of the morning and abstaining from food and water until the sunset are not means to becoming more spiritual but are instruments to control their mind.

These enlightened Muslims no more heed to the fear mongering verses of the Quran that threaten to burn them and roast them in the fires of hell if they dare to think and question the validity of that book.

Every day thousands of Muslim intellectuals are leaving Islam. They find Islam inconsistent with science, logic, human rights and ethics. Millions of Iranians already have left Islam. The enlightened Muslims of other nationalities are not far behind. This is the beginning of a mass exodus from Islam.

It is a movement that is already in motion and nothing can stop it.

However the exodus from Islam is not reserved to the intellectuals but also the average Muslims are finding that Islam is not the way to God but to ignorance, poverty and wars. They are leaving Islam to embrace other religions especially Christianity.

Perhaps it is best to listen to the truth coming from the mouth of the horse. The Internet site aljazeera.net published an interview with Ahmad Al Qataani An important Islamic cleric who said: “In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.”

What Muslims say among each other, is not the same thing that they say for the consumption of the Westerners.

These are huge numbers. If this trend continues we can expect to see Islam become insignificant in Africa in just a few decades. This is good news for those who are concerned about the ongoing slavery in Africa and the prospects of war and genocide.

It is important that we realize that this terrorism that is threatening the peace of the world and these wars that bleed the Muslim nations are not economically motivated but are they are hate motivated. They are religious wars. The weakening of Islam means peace for mankind.

Al Qataani and al Jazeera Network were alarmed by these huge numbers of Muslims leaving Islam, but humanity must rejoice over these numbers. The weakening of Islam means the triumph of mankind.

The following is part of the transcript of Al Jazeera’s Interview with Al Qataani translated to English. Here is the original transcript in Arabic

Maher Abdallah:

Dear viewers, peace of Allah be upon you, greetings and welcome to a new episode of the program Islamic Law and Life.

Our topic this evening will be Christianization in the Dark Continent … Africa. For after Islam was the religion of the majority, the great majority of that continent, the number of Muslims now is no greater than a third of the population.

This is taking into consideration, of course, that a large portion of this group are Arab Muslims. No doubt that the missions of evangelization and Christianization played a great role in this demographic shift of Muslims in the continent.

To discuss this topic, it is my pleasure to introduce today a man who is an expert on the issue of evangelization and Christianization in Africa, even though he will concentrate on the issue of Christianization first and foremost…. Sheikh Ahmad Al Qataani; the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, which is an institution specializing in graduating imams and Islamic preachers.

Sheikh Ahmad, welcome to you on the program.

Ahmad Al Qataani:

Greeting to you.

Maher Abdallah:

If we start by inquiring about your strict stance against the Christian missions in Africa, don’t the followers of every religion have the right to seek new converts, exactly as you train and graduate young Muslims to propagate Islam?

Ahmad Al Qataani:

The question that you pose is a result of not comprehending the difference between the concept of Christianization and the concept of evangelism.

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non-Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well. there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity

These numbers are very large indeed …..

Maher Abdallah (interrupting):

Hold on! Let me clarify. Do we have 6 million converting from Islam to Christianity or converting from Islam and other religions?

Maher Abdallah:

So 6 million Muslims a year convert?

Maher Abdallah:

My dear viewers welcome back to this episode where we are speaking about the topic of Christianization in the African continent and we are speaking with the Sheikh who is observing and following this issue, as each hour Islam loses just under 700 Muslims who join the Christian religion which leads us to the number of 6 million Muslims every year.”

 And what effect is ISIS having on Muslims?

ISIS seen undermining Islamic faith as more Muslims convert to Christianity

Monica Cantilero 08 June 2015

Islam will reportedly become the world’s largest religion 55 years from now based on recent projections, but the barbarous practices of the Islamic State could undermine the growth of the world’s Muslim population, experts said.

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Christianity and Islam will be near parity by 2050, with Christians expected to comprise 31.4 percent of the planet’s population against 29.7 percent who follow Islam.

The study said Islam will grow more than twice as fast as any other major religion over the next half century because of a higher fertility rate in Muslim dominated countries.

However, Muslims frightened by the inhumane acts by the ISIS, which the militants claim they are doing in the name of their god Allah, are now questioning their very own faith, and presumably considering to leave it, CBS News reported on Friday.

This is backed by testimonies from missionaries working in the Islamic world who noted that more Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last 14 years since the devastating Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. The number of converts in the recent period, they said, is greater than during the entire 14 centuries of Islamic history.

“Many Muslims are saying, ‘If ISIS is Islam, I’m leaving.’ Some are becoming atheists,” said Brother Rachid, who hosts a Christian program reaching Muslims called “Daring Questions” in Arabic language. “There is a huge wave of atheism in the Arab world right now and many are turning to Jesus Christ. Islam was never faced with this crisis before.”

“Islam is going to collapse,” added Brother Rachid, whose father is a Moroccan imam who lived as a secret Christian convert for 15 years.

Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church in Sweden, who has baptized more than a hundred former Muslims, maintained that ISIS causes many Muslims to come to Jesus.

“Every week I meet one or more persons who come to me and want to know more about Christianity and the Bible because they are very angry about being a Muslim. They don’t want to continue to be Muslim,” said Imran, who is also an immigrant from Syria.”

So Where does all this lead us?

So these are just a few bright spots against a dark, dismal backdrop painted daily by world events and media barrage emphasizing the negative.

I have always been “the glass is half full” guy and believe without a doubt that the best days are yet ahead for believers in Jesus, the advancement of His Kingdom and consequently for the world.

There is always hope where there is Jesus.

His work is finished so ours can be completed in His Kingdom Expansion in the earth. He sent His Holy Spirit to live inside us to carry out His purposes in the earth, not for us to sit around and wait for Him to return to take us all away but for us to make a difference here and now for His Kingdom and to prepare the way for His return.

We are living now by His design to play a part in seeing His Kingdom of forgiveness, grace and love permeate the entire world. He has empowered us with all that we need to accomplish this while we are here.

His Kingdom will continue to expand and will fill the earth until He returns.

Now that’s Good News!

“Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28,29.

 

Being Still

BEING STILL

Distractions  intentional as well as unintentional bombard our daily lives like no other time in history.

We all are infected unless we have moved to a remote corner of the world with no phones, no cell service and no cable or satellite totally off the grid.

As an example, as you read this, where is your cell phone? How far is it at this moment from your person?

I remember in 1997 traveling to Singapore and Malaysia. What made the greatest impression on me about the culture was that everybody had a handheld cell phone and they were all talking on them at the same time wherever I was. It was amazing because handheld cell phones had not yet caught on here and if you had a cell phone it was called a car phone because that’s where you primarily used them.

In just 18 years look at the transformation technology has brought to us to the point that it has affected every level of our societal interactions and created a dependency for staying “plugged in” constantly.

Now I’m not writing this to down play the importance of these portable devises. In fact as I write this mine is maybe a foot away. I’m just suggesting that we slow down for half a minute and think about this and the impact of continuous electronic updates and the flood of information we swim in daily.

Saturday I had a novel experience. I was planning on heading to our beach here in our community on the bay where I like to go for some solitude as there’s usually no one there and it’s a great spot right on the water with a private sand beach.

I had been wanting to download some classical instrumental music as I have missed listening to it so I went through some old CD’s to find what I wanted and found some other old ones as well. One of them was Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged”. Not necessarily one of my favorites but I do like Clapton and thought maybe I might enjoy having it on my phone. I never got around to it but the title jumped out at me; “Unplugged”.

As I started ripping one of my classical albums, I got impatient with how long it was taking so I decided to do it later and head to the beach as it was around 3 something and it gets dark around 5. So I made my way to the beach got there did my usual routine of setting up my chair, pouring some water into a thermal mug with ice and sitting down then I realized, I didn’t bring my phone and my Bluetooth!

I thought for a moment about what to do then I realized things happen for a reason so this being the first time ever that I didn’t bring my phone, I asked the Lord, what’s up and heard “your unplugged”.

What was amazing about this was the conditions at the beach were mysteriously “quiet”. I have never been to our beach and heard so much silence. It was eerie. There were hardly any waves, the bay looked like a calm lake, there were hardly any boats and the sky hung like a light grey blanket with dark streaks and little movement.

The acoustics were like a quiet soundstage waiting for an event to start and it stayed like that the entire time I was there, for a couple of hours.

For a good while, I was quiet, listening to the quite. The waves sounded like breathing as they slowly and quietly broke the silence as they gently lapped against  the shore. I noticed sounds like someone’s AC kicking on and then going off, the boats a mile away puttering along.  An occasional jet overhead leaving Destin /Ft. Walton Beach Airport and then more silence.

I watched the pelicans sail a few inches over the water and then heard the slow prolonged splash as they landed. I watched the waves in patterns coming towards me and saw the faint ripples of a breeze skim the water and an occasional mullet jumping two or three times in a row. And then the silence would return and I just breathed and rested relaxing in the moment.

I also never wear my watch to the beach so I had no way to know what time it was other than when it began to grow dark and the lights began to come on across the water a few miles away in Destin, Okaloosa Island and Ft. Walton Beach all visible from my vantage point on the bay.

When I go to our beach for some “me time” it is a time when I reflect on what’s going on and try to connect with the Lord privately.  So, as I listened to this intense silence in a place of stillness I asked Him again  “Lord, what’s up?”,  I heard

“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”

So I did. For a good long while I was still and tried to quiet my mind and not think about anything other than to enjoy my surroundings and take it all in. It was amazingly peaceful, relaxing and restful.

After enjoying the quiet for a good while,  I decided to meditate on this phrase one word at a time saying it over each time slowly emphasizing the next word and pausing to reflect and meditate on the meaning of each word.

What took place was amazing. It was like being taken to another realm of reality where time seemed to slow down or at least I wasn’t time conscious. I let my thoughts float around and examine each word to draw the meaning and life out of it like slowly enjoying a tasty morsel of filet mignon.

My consciousness expanded to include God in my thought process and to allow my thoughts to go in His direction. Here’s a few observations I remember that came from this experience:

Be– being not doing, existence as a created human being not human doing, just breath, it’s OK to just Be.

STILL– quite, not moving, not doing, observing, listening, waiting, peace, not thinking (which is hard to do.)

And- conjunctively connecting to the next thing which required doing the first two things; BE STILL before the next can happen.

KNOW– as in knowing intellectually however in the Hebrew “Yada”, intimately knowing, familiar, safe, secure, emotionally grounded by being known, loved and accepted completely by the one I’m invited to Be Still and Know.

That– a fact , a reality to be dealt with that is just that a fact.

I – personal identifier spoken in the first person by a person. The one who became like us, flesh and blood and who still lives in a human body in Heaven, wherever that is. I know He went up so it’s up there somewhere, another dimension like an “alternate reality” that exists at the same time as our existence yet transcends all limitations of our known reality. It has to be a place somewhere for his body to exists like a physical place right? Maybe beyond the known galaxies out there in space somewhere or maybe it’s an “other dimension” that could be right here where we are right now with like a tissue paper thin veil that separates us. (OK I got a bit carried away with this one)

AM- self existent one who self sustains all with no limit to power or dimension or scope or range; ever existing, no beginning and no end, forever yet outside of time living in what I call the eternal “now”. Beyond comprehension. What would it be like to live forever with no beginning and no end yet always  now? My head is hurting. Next word.

 GOD- what can I say that I didn’t already say. He’s God. There’s no other one, just Him. And He invites me to just, Be Still and Know that He is God. This means that all that He is is available to me to know  which is unlimited in every aspect of His person. With all eternity before us, we will always be getting to Know Him in all His fullness forever in ever increasing measure from glory to glory infinitum.

This is available for everyone who will just “Be Still” and take time to experience Him. He obviously wants to be known by us otherwise why invite us to know Him.

This is the invitation to all whosoever’s that come to Him through believing Jesus who said He is the only way to know and experience God.

And why would he offer such an invitation to know Him?

 “For God So greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:16-17 AMP

Jesus, the one who removed all the obstacles of humankind’s failings through His sacrificial gift of Himself, on a cross in our place, the One who became sin in our place so we could receive His free gift of His righteousness; the ultimate gift of love exchanged when there was absolutely nothing we could do to save ourselves and nothing we could offer to Him other than to surrender ourselves to Him and receive life eternal from Him. So one sided. All Him. None of Us. Ours to freely receive if we can just believe it is true. Undeserved, Unearned, Unmerited Favor.; Jesus truly is amazing grace offering this invitation; to Know Him.

There is a lot to this “Being Still” for us to learn. I suspect we will be growing in this from now on.

I am grateful that He arranged the circumstances so I could “unplug” for just a few moments and spend some time Being Still. I recommend intentionally taking some time to “unplug” and just Be still and Know that He is God. Then you can write something like this and post it on Facebook, like I’m doing or get a blog and let the world know about it on Word Press, or send a text with a selffie of you being still or well you get the idea. After all it’s good to share.

WHY GOLD MATTERS

Source: WHY GOLD MATTERS