Sunday, September 27, 2015

Grace or reaping what you sow...or both?

How the fall played out is a grand overview of how all rebellion towards God works.

When we rebel, we violate God and our design. As a result, consequences happen (Gen 3:13-19; 3:23-24) but grace is right there and also happens (Gen 3:9,15,21).

For us today as than, the love expressed through grace is no less, even though the consequences are there and so destructive. And the consequences are no less though the love is so great i.e. one does not diminish the other (If consequences ever are removed, it is only because of God's mercy i.e. His not letting us get what we deserve).

In fact the greater the consequences the more loving it is for us to experience the full brunt of them (Usually. Sometimes God in his wisdom deems it best to show mercy). Experiencing the full consequences demonstrates to us the fallacy and destructiveness of seeking to operate our way verses God's way. In short it shows us the importance of total dependence and trust in God and the destructiveness of not depending on and totally trusting him.

Because God is the source of all life, all goodness, all wisdom and all love, dependence on him and trust in him is not just the only way but also the best way to operate. It is operating according to who we are and who God is i.e. according to how God designed us and the world. 

All the pain and suffering that we see all around us today is a grand object lesson of the foolishness of distrusting God and seeking to be our own god. Yet it is also an even grander object lesson in the greatness of his love. 

Even though we seriously messed up, God himself, took all the pain and suffering we caused, upon himself in Christ and made a way for us (and eventually the creation itself) to be fully restored back to all the fullness of His love again.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Free to be honest

Performance is embedded in the very core of our being. It is the fruit of believing we can be our own god. The exact same lie Adam and Eve bought into when tempted in the garden.

This is now so subtly and deeply embedded in our hearts and a part of our make up, it is our default approach to everything in life. Only by the Spirit of God, through the grace of God, bringing it to our attention, do we ever see and abandon it. This is not a one time event but a constant ongoing process.

Thank God he frees us and allows us to take an honest look and admit this deeply ingrained and hidden inclination away from Him because we know in so doing He does not reject us when we are in Christ. Because Christ has removed the barrier between us and God and gained God's total love and acceptance of us we no longer need to deny our deep distrust of God. 

He loved us before we ever trusted him. 

Rom 5:8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

In Christ we now have every spiritual and heavenly resource. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places," - Paul the apostle. Eph 1:3

#distrust #Performance #Acceptance #Honesty 

Friday, September 25, 2015

God's Commandments...drudgery or delight?

Making out a "to do" list does not motivate you to do it, it only reminds you of what you need to do. The motivation is from elsewhere.

If there is no motivation, a "to do" list is drudgery and restrictive. It only produces guilt because it reminds you of what you need to do when you don't have the motivation to do it.

If there is motivation, a "to do" list is helpful and aids you in being more efficient in moving you faster and closer to what you desire.

So it is with obedience to God's commandments.

Living according to God's commandments is rewarding and freeing when we are motivated by love, trust and a desire to honor him.

But they are condemning and only produce guilt when we are not.

The solution? A clearer understanding and view of the love and majesty of God. A greater trust that He loves us without strings and all his directives are for our good, given in our best interest and out of his relentless love for us.

If we act for any reason other than love and trust in God and a desire to honor him due to his great love for us, we are not acting by grace, in the Spirit, by love (these all go hand-in-hand) but by performance i.e. to earn God's approval versus acting because we already have it.

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome." - John, a disciple of Christ. 1Jn 5:2-3

For a further discussion click here

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Valuing God...the maturing process

What we value and what we want are not necessarily separate. That which we value most we desire/want most.

However we can "want" things simply because we "know we should" and not necessarily because we truly value them i.e. They don't really hold value for us, we only say they do because God (or someone else) said they should. 

And of course none of us wants to say openly that we disagree with God. So we disagree "quietly" instead i.e. we hid our true feelings and beliefs from ourselves and others (though not from God. We only attempt to hide from God) thinking by so doing we can avoid dealing with them i.e. We don't have to look at and address our unbelief/distrust in God and our subtle/hidden commitment to valuing something more then God.

A primary means of our maturing is coming to the place of wanting and valuing what we know we should i.e. what we know we should value and what we actually do value are one and the same. There is no pretense (pretending). 

When our values are totally in line and integrated with God's values we are operating as we were designed and have come to a place of true joy, fulfillment and maturity.

The first step in this process is recognizing how much we don't want or value what we know we should.

"It's their (Adam and Eve's) fault!"

We can complain about being saddled with the decision of our first parents (Adam and Eve), feeling its not fair. After all, we didn't choose to rebel against God, they did!

However if you and I were given the exact same circumstances and choices, I propose we would have made the *exact same choice. 

And what was their decision? To attempt to operate contrary to their design; the way God made them i.e. to try to operate in complete independence from God instead of in total dependence on God; to be their own god.

But the reality is once they rebelled the ultimate solution was immediately promised (Genesis 3:15) and a temporary solution was provided (Gen 3:21). God did not abandon Adam and Eve but pursued them (even though they had abandoned him). There has never been a time when a solution hasn't been available. A solution that is available right now for each of us and has always been available from the outset of man's rebellion.

We can therefore walk away from the path our first parents choose and return to the original path we were created to walk on simply by accepting Gods solution to the problem **we created.  In effect, do exactly the opposite of what Adam did and trust God's promise. 

We cannot blame our first parents (or God) for our present condition because there always has been and now is a present solution. The simple fact that you are reading this is evidence God is pursuing you at this very moment, and in Christ, has done everything needed to restore you. All you need to do is accept his offer. 

God does not condemn us for our sin per se, we are already condemned for not accepting his solution offered to address our sin.

Joh 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 

We now are the one responsible for acting contrary to our design, not our parents. We will be accountable for our choice, not theirs. It is our refusal to trust God and accept his present offer we are accountable for, not our parents refusal.

Wish to know more about the solution? click here.

For a more in depth discussion on what occurred at man's original rebellion click here


*So did God make a mistake in how he made us? I propose he made us exactly the way we are so we might know him truly as he is to greatest extent possible, thereby enjoying him to the greatest extent possible. There is mystery in this but I am suggesting this ultimately was not only for God's highest glory but also for our greatest good and joy. It comes down to we either trust he is good as he claims or we do not. 

**If we reject God's offer and solution, this further indicates we would have made the exact same choice Adam and Eve made given the same circumstances. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Morality or Jesus?

The church needs to get away from the morality drill. Morality should not be our focus. Why? Because without God's enabling, none of us can truly be moral.

It's not that morality doesn't matter. It absolutely does. However none of us can produce a truly moral life *simply and merely by willpower. It is the fruit of something far deeper; something missing. 

Morality (i.e. choosing to live according to God's commandments) is not the cause of God's acceptance of us it is the fruit of it. So why should we ask or expect the world to do what none of us can do on our own, Christian or otherwise. Morality is the RESULT of being loved by God first and than loving and honoring God in response (which also involves loving others as we wish to be loved).

Christ said, "if you LOVE me, you WILL keep my commandments" but instead, we somehow hear "I must keep your commandments so you will love me." Sorry, but this is not his message. Read it again slowly and in its context. Morality shouldn't be our focus, the greatness, the goodness and the love of God for us and our response of love, should be.

When we see God as he truly is, all loving, all wise, all powerful for and to us and always present with us, this causes us to *want to seek to honor him in our words and deeds i.e. live morally Isa 6:1-8. We don't seek moral living as our primarily aim. When we see him as he is, "high and lifted up," (i.e. of tremendous value, beauty, majesty, wisdom etc) loving God will be our primary desire and aim. In fact this statement itself; that he should be our primary desire and aim, is a 1moral statement and the true essence of morality.

We are not to focus on how poorly we or others are behaving but rather on loving God with all our heart soul mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Focusing exclusively on morals cause us to take our eyes off of God. It is the cart before the horse.

People are tired of moralistic preaching and it's condescending hypocritical message; of us expecting and demanding of non believers something we Christians can not (and do not) even do ourselves unless moved by God. Truth is NO ONE is or can ever be moral enough to be approved by God. Christian or otherwise.

So why are we trying to get or expecting the world to be moral. **Morality is not what they need. They need Jesus first. When they fall in love with Jesus everything else follows. Then and only then will they want to honor him with their words and deeds.

All the "Christians" that are always preaching or demanding morality from an unbelieving world needs to please stop.

Instead we are all called to fall passionately in love with God. To love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as yourself. Don't we think this is convicting enough or a pursuit worthy enough of everything we are and have? There is a reason Christ said on these two do all the other commandments hang. In fact it's entirely dishonoring to God to focus on moral behavior because it brings attention to us, not him i.e. "look at how moral I am. You should be moral too"

Why? Will morality save us? NO!!! It's precisely because we are not moral and never can be moral enough to ever be approved by God, that God sent his Son to do what we could never do for ourselves. To provide and then offer to GIVE us a perfect moral status. Yes, give it! This is why it's called "good news." We don't have to be moral in order to be totally accepted and fully loved by God because Christ did that for us. He was moral on our behalf and he bore the complete and total consequences for our immorality.

The truth is we must be 100% perfectly moral for God to ever accept us 100%. Well, guess what? That's never going to happen and that is precisely why Christ came. To provide that for us and offer it to us as a gift.

For several posts on the legitimate role law plays in a believers life click here. 


1For a further discussion on the grounds or basis for morality click here.

*Php 2:12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

**I am not saying morality isn't important, or there is no right or wrong. There is wrong doing that causes real harm and should be corrected. But this is a societal issue. 

I am speaking of our personal relationship with God. I am saying the morality we all need to be good enough to be restored to God we can never produce. We are simply too morally bankrupt to ever be perfectly moral. True morality is the fruit of godliness not the cause of it. Godliness is the fruit of loving God. Loving God is the fruit of him loving us first

Perfect morality has to be provided for us and given to us as a gift. And since it does, this is the message we must bring others; the good news, not "stop being bad...and start acting good..." Rather we must declare we are all bad and can never be good enough. None of us. The heart of where we all drop the ball is we don't love and honor God according to his true majesty, beauty and honor. All other immoral behavior is simply the fruit of not loving God as we ought and He deserves.