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Posts Tagged ‘Fullness of Christ’

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence [face] of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” [Gen3:8 AMP]

What Does God Sound Like?

I often wonder what would it sound like to hear God walking in the garden…would there be a mighty roar of wind?…would there be a gentle rustling of leaves?…would there be the sound of God’s footsteps?…or perhaps ‘the sound of the Lord’ relates to a sixth sense, a ‘spirit to Spirit’ sense that Adam and Eve were aware that the Lord was in the garden. Indeed, God did create them in His image [Gen 1:26-27] – which would include a spirit, as well as the soul and body.

God Confronts Adam and Eve

And the mystery of God’s presence being in the garden (more than in any other place) really points to God having a form which, for me, points to Jesus. So my long bow with this verse is that from time to time, or probably daily (knowing the love and character of God), Jesus would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening (as He also did with His disciples when He was here on earth). You know, I believe sometimes we can get caught up in the harshness of the Old Testament and we can really miss this altogether – How great is the Father’s love is for His creation and how He longs and loves to fellowship with it (and how disappointed He must have been that Adam and Eve were attempting to hide from Him).

In any case (even if you do not agree with the above), Adam and Eve were familiar with the ‘sound of Lord’ and they knew He was in the garden and yet they did not go to Him as I suspect they usually would have, because of their sin. Fellowship and relationship with God was broken that day and instead of perhaps running to Him they hid from His face. This was a very sad day for humanity and for God!

But here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost through Adam at ‘the fall’!

(‘the fall’ = the fall of humanity through the sin of Adam and Eve)

To understand what has been restored through Jesus let us have a look at what has been lost through Adam.

Through Adam relationship and intimacy with our Heavenly Father have been lost. Our inherited sinful nature rebels against God and His Word. The penalty for our sin and rebellion is death and Hell. We are lost, we are condemned, we are without hope, we are without a purpose, we are without a future, and we are completely powerless and helpless to do anything about where we are heading. There is no way of escape and, because of God’s perfect judgement, nor do we deserve a way of escape.

Now putting the bad news aside here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost!

Through Jesus and His death and resurrection, our judgement and condemnation has been fully paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are no longer lost but we are saved by God. We are no longer hopeless but now have great hope in our Saviour and we live in the purposes and calling of our Heavenly Father which He has planned for us before the beginning of time. We are no longer powerless and helpless against the schemes of the enemy but we have given given authority in the name of Jesus through his great victory over the devil at the cross. The authority that had been forfeited by Adam has been restored by Christ. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to His own jails anymore. He is rendered powerless! All he has is lies and tricks. All authority has been given to Christ and to all who are in Christ, Jesus has given His authority. So if we don’t fall into a rebellious life or we are not tricked by the devil schemes we are truly free, free indeed [John 8:36] by the finished work of Jesus on the cross!

Additional reading here Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

A Life of Abundance!

Even further, as if this was not enough, Jesus came to give us far more than we could ever hope for or imagine[Eph 3:20]! Jesus calls us not to a life of mediocrity but a life of abundance!

In John 10:10 Jesus says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

When I mention abundant life I am not overlooking troubles that can come our way from time to time that can place great demands on our faith and our character. In John 16:33 Jesus was aware of these and said there will be “tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]  and He said this so that in Him “we may have [perfect]peace.”

This abundant life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10 is created by the Author and Creator of life himself. The One who gave us life is the One who can give us our best life. God knows all about us and He has made each one of us a perfect and abundant life plan for our lives – imagine a life to the max – a life overflowing in abundance! A life of perfect peace! How can this be possible?

Getting Back to the Garden

What was life like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall and how do we get back there?

Here are a few observations about the Garden of Eden before the fall. The Garden was:

  • a place created by God for Adam and Eve to live and enjoy.
  • a place where God could enjoy and commune with His creation.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to fellowship with one another and to fellowship and commune with God.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to rule and to have dominion over all of creation.
  • a place that displayed the magnificence, creativity and glory of God.

I’ve had a revelation (which I don’t mind if you accept or reject) the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place.

If the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place how do we get back there?

Just before Jesus ascended He said to His disciples “don’t leave Jerusalem until you are baptized, empowered and united with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 1:4-5].

The key here is a life empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comforts us, gives us peace, teaches us, counsels us, encourages us, exhorts us, gives us wisdom, gives us Spiritual gifts to help others, helps us to worship God, convicts us of sin, gives us strength, shows us the truth, guides us, helps us to pray, produces fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and is always with us everywhere we go.

The Garden of Eden or Utopia or Shangri-La or Paradise or any other place of contentment or peace or rest are not found in a physical place but found in a place in our heart where Jesus comes to live with us by His Spirit.

Jesus says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30]

True contentment or true peace or true rest for our souls is found in Christ alone. This is not a physical place (like the Garden of Eden) but it is a Spiritual place. It is a position or posture of our heart to receive the Good News about Christ, and to receive the infilling of His Holy Spirit. Then, as God’s Word says, “our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God” [Col 3:2-3] – the safest, most peaceful, most restful and most contented place we can find!

This life is available to everyone but not everyone finds this life:

See why in Matthew 13:1-23.

Chapter 1: Life in the Garden or Getting Back to the Garden
Communication and fellowship as it should be – life in the garden.

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In the nineth chapter of the Book of Joshua (verses below), Joshua and the assembly leaders of Israel get themselves into a big pickle.

In short, the Gibeonites have used all sorts of tricks to deceive Joshua and the men of Israel into making a peace treaty with them even though they are their neighbours.

Joshua’s error is made obvious in verse 14:

“The men of Israel sampled their provisions (ie: the provisions of the deceiving Gibeonites) but did not inquire of the LORD.”

You see, Joshua and the men of Israel looked with their eyes and heard with their ears and maybe even tasted witht their mouth but “did not inquire of the Lord”; they did not ask of the Lord; they did not speak with the Lord; they did not pray to the Lord; and so they were deceived.

Let’s make things a little clearer.  The Gibeonites were the enemy of Israel.  Joshua was meant to completely destroy them, as he had done with other peoples in the region, but because “he did not inquire of the Lord” he is now, tragically, making a peace treaty with them.  In other words, Joshua is making a peace treaty with the enemy. 

Further, the Lord had made a promise to Joshua and the Israelites that he was going to go with them and destroy all of the enemy so that they would inherit all of  the land.  So this agreement that Joshua has made with the Gibeonites stands in opposition to the very promise of God all because Joshua and the men of Israel “did not inquire of the Lord”.

When I was in Cyangugu, Rwanda earlier this year with my friend Jerome I met another friend’s father who is a Pastor there and he said to me “It’s very hard for someone to come out of witchcraft and into faith in Jesus because they have made agreements with the devil.”

I believe there is a similar thing going on here with Joshua.  Joshua, in his foolishness, has made an agreement with the enemy that stands in opposition to the very promise of God.  And not only that, but they now have a deceptive enemy living in the camp with them.  They have mistakenly decided to honour their oath made in deception rather than honour the promise of God.  “The enemy is living in the camp”.

What can we learn from these verses?

We know that our enemy is actively trying to deceive us out of our inheritance.  That inheritance is ours by faith in the promises of God.  We’re not to live by sight but in everything we need to “inquire of the Lord” (PRAY) so that we are not deceived into loosing our inheritance and/or compromising the promises of God.  We need to be quick to acknowledge our mistakes and honour the Word of God and the Promises of God higher than any foolish decisions that we make.  You will notice that there was no repentance by Joshua and the men of Israel.  There was only ‘damage control’ going on to honour an invalid agreement that was based on a deception.

Joshua Chapter 9:
9:1 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things — those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea  as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)— 2 they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel.
3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded  with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. 5 The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. 6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”
7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?”
8 “We are your servants,” they said to Joshua.
But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”
9 They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt, 10 and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan-Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.” ‘  12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”
14 The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
16 Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them. 17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel.
The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders, 19 but all the leaders answered, “We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now. 20 This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them.” 21 They continued, “Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community.” So the leaders’ promise to them was kept.
22 Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us? 23 You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God.”
24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. 25 We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”
26 So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day. NIV

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This is kind of powerful – The Reason by Hoobastank with clips from The Passion. (Warning – very graphic)

Isa 53:1-11 (Prophecy dated at 700BC)
1 Who has believed our message?  To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground.  There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.  We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.  He was despised, and we did not care.
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.  And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own.  Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away.  No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.  But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone.  But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.  Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.  He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.  And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
[New Living Translation]

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Many, many people have walked away from God, believing that ‘God isn’t Good’ because of some misplaced ‘Justice’ issues.

You know what I mean; the thoughts that we can have like, “Why is this happening to me?”, “I don’t deserve this!”,  “This is not fair!”, “Where is God in all of this?, “Where is the justice?” and so on and so forth.  And from there we talk ourselves into believing something terrible about God, that perhaps He is not Just, and therefore perhaps He is also not Good. I have said this in a previous post and I need to say it again, whatever happens in our lives we must always remember that ‘God is Good’.  We must always have this as a pillar of truth in our hearts. 

WE MUST BE UNSHAKEABLY CONVINCED ABOUT THIS!

Even when we don’t understand what is happening, when God appears silent, when we can’t see God anywhere, we need to make sure that the enemy can NEVER snatch away from our hearts, that pillar of truth that ‘God is Good’.

Did you hear that?  Did you get that into your Spirit?

READ IT AGAIN!

Even when we don’t understand what is happening, when God appears silent, when we can’t see God anywhere, we need to make sure that the enemy can NEVER snatch away from our hearts, that pillar of truth that ‘God is Good’.

So, what about justice?

That is, the Justice of God.  Here are some thoughts (they are by no means exhaustive):

Foolish and Selfish Notions about Justice

Firstly, I want to deal with a foolish notion about God’s Justice.  I believe a lot of us have a foolish notion that we deserve life to be trouble free and fair.  Now this isn’t really a ‘Justice of God’ issue, but when we are in those moments of trouble and despair, we think life (or rather God) is unfair.  We ignorantly blame God and label the situation as a ‘Justice of God’ issue.  In reality, in those moments, we have no concept of what the ‘Justice of God’ really is.  You see, the foolish notion that we deserve a trouble free and fair life is a self centred delusion that is birthed out of the depths of our pride and sinful nature.  God and His Justice gets twisted.  You see, we try to twist our selfish notion into a ‘Justice issue’, an accussation against God, and from there, unfortunately, we begin to slander God’s character.  Have you thought about the implications of this thinking?  That by blaming God we are actually slandering His character!

“Would you discredit my justice?  Would you condemn me to justify yourself? – God [Job 40:8]

Some preachers feed into this foolish notion of prosperity and blessings and ‘best life now’.  “YOU DESERVE WEALTH AND PROSPERITY” (NOT!).  And what happens when we don’t get these things?  Our faith takes a nose dive, the wheels fall off and disillusionment sets in, and, in the end, God gets slandered!   We say, “Oh, if God was ‘Just’ I wouldn’t be going through all of this”.  NO, NO, NO!

PRIDE, PRIDE, PRIDE!

This is not a Justice issue.  This comes from the depths of our sinful nature.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth is, since we were born, the only thing we have deserved is death and hell (Rom 6:23) .  The truth is, if God’s Justice was metered out upon us we would have never lived at all!  The truth is, in these present days, we are living in times of God’s Mercy and God’s Grace through His Son Jesus.  In these present days, God’s Justice is held back from those who are evil and those who are ‘good’ (ie: I mean ‘not so evil’)(Matt 5:45).  “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”(Rom 3:23), “All are condemned to die for their sins”(Rom 6:23), “But Jesus took our condemnation and gave us His righteousness(Rom 5:9-10, Rom 5:18-19) – as a free gift”.  Stop looking for more than Jesus.  Those who are in Christ have everything.  EVERYTHING we have is Jesus.  Jesus is our Jewel and our Crown but if we are blessed with material wealth this is a bonus.  And when trouble comes, we still have Jesus!  Jesus is enough! (unless we are looking for something more than Jesus).

Life is not Fair

I have always observed that ‘Life is not Fair’ and, since the sin of Adam and Eve, life can never be fair.  So, if you are hoping for Justice and Fainess on this side of Eternity you may be waiting a very long time (However, sometimes Justice does happen and sometimes it is something worth fighting for).  But, on the other side of the coin, we have a sure hope that Justice will prevail (eventually) when God wraps all things up.  ‘Life is not Fair’ is not a moan or a whinge, or some slogan to justify brokenness or mediocrity, it is a fact of life.  ‘Life is not Fair’ is a wake up call to get over things, to move ahead knowing, in the end, there will be Justice.  ‘Life is not Fair’ can be a releasing thing knowing that you are not the only one singled out for injustice.

Consider Cain and Abel.  What did Abel do wrong?  NOTHING! – his gift was acceptable to the Lord.  He had favour in the eyes of the Lord and yet he was murdered by his brother.  Where is the Justice?  Please tell me what did Abel do to deserve to be murdered?  Please tell me the wisdom of this story so that we can understand God Justice(Gen 4:3-16)?  The truth is, Abel did nothing to deserve his murder just as there will be things in our lives that will be unfair and unjust.  The sin of Adam(and Eve) has set off a chain reaction of sin and corruption in the hearts and lives of men and women that even extends to God’s very creation(Rom 8:19-22).  In the world that we live ‘Life is not Fair’ but ‘God is still Good’.

The Lord’s True Justice

The Lord loves justice and His heart is for the poor and the needy.

“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love” [Ps 33:5]

“The LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy” [Ps 140:12]

So, as our hearts come more into line with God’s heart, so our love for righteousness, justice and the needs of the poor and the weak will grow greater.

Bono, in his speech to the NAACP put it this way…

This is true religion, true religion will not let us fall asleep in the comfort of our freedom. “Love thy neighbor” is not a piece of advice, it’s a command…That means that in the global village, we’re going to have to start loving a whole lot more people…where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die…The poor are where God lives. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is where the opportunity is lost and lives are shattered.  God is with the mother who has infected a child with a virus that will take both their lives. God is under the rubble in the cries we hear during wartime. God, my friends, is with the poor, and God is with us if we are with them.

God’s instructions and warnings are clear…

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other” [Zech 7:9-10]

“Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!  Seek justice, encourage the oppressed.  Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” [Isa 1:16-17]

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” [Mic 6:8]

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” [James 1:27]

“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless” [Isa 10:1-2]

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former” [Matt 23:23]

In the words of Jesus and His mission we hear the heart of the Father…

Luke 4:16-21
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to release the oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

There is so much more to the Justice of God.  It is perhaps sufficient to say that we have discovered that the true Justice of God shows the Father’s heart of compassion for the lost and broken, the poor and in prison, the blind and the opressed, the orphan and the widow but it also shows the Father’s great wrath for all those who oppress and take advantage of the weak and also perhaps to those of us who sit on their hands and do nothing.

And finally,

Luke 18:1-8
18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?

I find this passage really interesting.  It starts with the persistent prayer of a widow for justice and it ends with Jesus saying “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

So where are His faithful ones, helping the widow get her Justice?

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Have you ever really considered the challenge and the freedom of this verse?

James 5:17-18
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

“Elijah was a man just like us”

I believe there is a challenge here in this verse for you and for me.  You see, “Elijah was a man just like us” and God wants to take the ordinary, impart His Spirit, and make us extraordinary; God wants to take the natural, impart His Spirit and make us SUPERnatural.

Do you know and understand that God doesn’t play favourites?

Rom 2:11 makes it clear: (see also Deut 10:17, Acts 10:34-35, Eph 6:9)

“For God does not show favouritism”

Do you believe this?  Do you accept that God does not show partiality to any man(or woman)?

Well, if you believe God’s Word that ‘Elijah was a man just like us‘ and you believe that ‘the Lord shows no favouritism‘ consider the freedom and the power that God can impart into your life.  There is no limit to what God can do in and through you.  Or is there a limit?

2 Chron 16:9a says this:

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

Do you know what the limiting factor is in our relationship with the Lord?

Is it God? – NO WAY!

Is it the Devil? – NO WAY!

The limiting factor is us!

GK Chesterton puts it this way:

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Here is a quote from D.L.Moody’s biography here:

It was during this first visit to Britain that Moody heard the words which set him hungering and thirsting after a deeper Christian experience and which marked a new era in his life. The words were spoken to him by Mr. Henry Varley, the well known evangelist, as they sat together on a seat in a public park in Dublin. The words were these: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” “He said ‘a man'” thought Moody, “he did not say, a great man, nor a learned man, nor a ‘smart’ man, but simply ‘a man.’ I am a man, and it lies with the man himself whether he will or will not make that entire and full consecration. I will try my utmost to be that man.” The words kept ringing in his mind, and burning their way into his soul until finally he was led into the deeper, richer, fuller experience for which his soul yearned. The impression the words made was deepened soon afterward by words spoken by Mr. Bewley, of Dublin, Ireland, to whom he was introduced by a friend. “Is this young man all O and O?” asked Mr. Bewley. “What do you mean by ‘O and O’?” said the friend. “Is he out and out for Christ?” was the reply. From that time forward Moody’s desire to be “O and O” for Christ was supreme.

Prayer:

Father, I do not pursue You and love you with all of my heart and all of my mind and all of my soul and all of my strength.  I allow things to get in the way of my relationship with You.  Please forgive me and give me a heart that is fully consecrated , fully devoted and fully committed to You.  I take myself off the throne of my life and put You onto it.  Have Your way with me and my life.  My deepest desire is to see Your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven.  Lead me and refine me and empower me be your Spirit, in you Son Jesus’ name, Amen


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Here is a basic and essential truth that each one of us needs to ALWAYS hold on to with all of our being…

“GOD IS GOOD!”

Since the beginning of time, Satan and his cohorts and this corrupt and broken world have relentlessly and tirelessly tried to get mankind to believe the lie that “God is not good”.

Let’s look back at the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent in the garden of Eden for a moment:

Gen 3:1-5
3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Now there are many things that can be drawn and learned from this story but, for me, there is one very important thing; you see, the serpent sold Eve a lie, the serpent slandered God’s character and Eve bought it.  So, in Eve’s eyes now, because she has bought the lie of the serpent, she believes that God does not have the best intentions for her life.  She believes God is holding out on her.  In essence, Eve no longer believes that “God is good”.

Folks, it’s the same with us.  Many, many things will press in on our lives, either from the enemy or from this broken world and try to take from us that essential pillar of truth in our lives that “God is good”.

Can you see that in your own life?

Can you see where the devil has got in by a whisper or a shout saying something like, “See, I told you so.  Look at what is happening, God is not good”.

And so, you are the one that suffers.  You have bought the lie of the evil one into your heart.  You have been tricked and deceived.  The problem is, this lie robs you of the fellowship and the relationship of your Heavenly Father.

Never let go of the truth and the fact that “God is good”

Else your hope and relationship in the Lord will be lost.

Heavenly Father, forgive me that I have bought a lie of the enemy that you are not good.  I see that now.  Lord, you are good and all your ways are just and right.  Lord, restore unto me the joy and my salvation.  I never want to be in this place of isolation and hopelessness again.  Lord fill my heart with your love and your peace and your joy.  I trust you with all of my heart, in Jesus name, Amen.

To be continued – the justice of God

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Galation 5:1 says this;

It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. [Gal 5:1]

What an amazing truth!  Why has Christ set us free?  The answer is right here in this verse; “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”.  Jesus has set us free for our…

FREEEEEEEEDOM!!!!

Jesus proclaimed and fullfilled the prophecy of Isaiah when He read:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  [Luke 4:18-19]

Now the average person may say; “I (that’s a gi-normous ‘I’) am not a slave to anyone or anything”.  What freedom are you talking about?”  We read a similar response in v33 on John chapter 8 from the Jews;

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants  and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. [John 8:31-36]

Do these Jews know there history?  Of course they do.  This statement isn’t about the facts, it’s about their pride.  Here’s my interpretation of their response to Jesus;

“We are “GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE”, nobody, I mean nobody is master over us, BUDDY!”

Their response is a statement of their prideful hearts.  Can YOU see what Jesus is saying?  Sin and the Devil no longer have mastery over us.  Everything that sets itself up as master over our lives is torn down.  We are truly and ‘indeed’ set free by (the blood of) Jesus. I’m not talking just about our life in Heaven, I am talking about our life now!  Jesus sets us free NOW.  Those things that bind us and trap us and oppress us NO LONGER HAVE MASTERY OVER OUR LIVES.  Their power is broken by the blood of Jesus.

The Devil hates these verses…

13 When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive — right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, 14 the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s Cross. 15 He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. [Col 2:13-15 – THE MESSAGE]

The Devil and his cohorts are stripped of all their power.

THEY HAVE NO POWER IN A BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS LIFE.

The only power that they have is the power that we give them; either deliberately by our rebelliousness, or by their deception, or by our accepting and believing lies instead of the Truth.

Do you believe that?  If you do believe that, I have a question; should your life look a whole lot different to what it does now?

Is your light shining?

Here is a prophecy about the ‘Future Glory for Jerusalem’
“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see.  For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.  Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.  All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. [Isa 60:1-3 – NLT]

Do people really not notice any difference?

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. [Matt 5:14-16 – NLT]

Is the light of the glory of the cross shining through your life?

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. [2 Cor 4:6-7 – NLT]

REPENT!

Turn around and go the other way!  Repentance is not just about stopping what you are doing and asking for God’s forgiveness and mercy (as big as that is).  It’s also about  going the opposite way to the way you were going.  Repentance now has you walking towards the Light, not away from Him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I believe in you.  I believe you died and you rose again and you defeated sin and death and the Devil.  The Devil doesn’t have a hold on me.  I am redeemed by your blood.  I repent of my wicked and rebellious ways. Forgive me Lord Jesus.  Open my eyes to the lies and the deception of the Devil.  Search my heart, and reveal any deceptive ways.  Renew my heart.  Transform my mind.  Set my feet upon the Rock, in Jesus name, AMEN

Message inspired by Gary Althorp – Freedom

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