I envisioned, this morning, that as I was entering into heaven I passed down a gauntlet of all the people I had harmed in this life, their children, and their children, and their children.
Knowing Life Through Action
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John. 3:16 NAS) The call of LOVE is to love. The message of LOVE is to love. The motion of LOVE is to love. There is no escape, if you are joined to LOVE, you will love. If you do not love, you are not joined to LOVE. It is that simple and that direct. You are not called to give mental assent to a set of teachings by a local group of believers, but you are called to love at the cost of yourself. Obedience to God is acting on the belief that God is present for others through you. In receiving Christ, you will die to your old way of living as a self-for-self and take on His Person of being a self-for-others. You don’t come to Christ to escape hell or some other discomfort, but to die from your flesh-self-identity and be made into His person of love. When you put your faith in Christ, you were not instantly transported to heaven to escape trials, but you were invited to dive into this life of struggle and be of assistance to others in their struggles.
Of What is IT Made
The substance of the Kingdom of God.
Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
What were you thinking. No, really, of what were you thinking the Kingdom of God was made? Hate, boredom, pain, or fear? John the Baptist proclaimed ITS coming. Jesus proclaimed ITS presence. The apostles and disciples declared ITS reality and impact. Here, in Romans, Paul defines of what IT is made and by What Agent.
To define the substances of the Kingdom of God he uses three big words; righteousness, peace, and joy. To miss the Kingdom of God you somehow have to want to miss a kingdom of being right with yourself, others, and God which cannot bring anything less than peace and joy. I mean real feelings of peace and joy and a sense of being okay! Yet IT is not these feelings but bring them.
Somehow, every day, if not every moment, we have to work at stopping God's rule over us, that is His righteousness, peace, and joy. To do this we have to damn the Holy Spirit's gifting of our right to experience ourselves as upright, resting in His eternal peace, while jumping for joy.
How can we damn the Holy Spirit. In reality we cannot stop God, but we can deny ourselves the right to feel His gift: His Kingdom within and between us. We have embraced Christ Jesus as the One Who makes us whole and complete (saved and perfect). We have identified by faith in His death in which we died and now in the resurrection He lives. Why not identify in His feelings of being right with us and His Father, at peace and resting with His Father, and down right overjoyed now and now and now.
His tempers birthed in us.
“It is manifest, that no one can fail of the Benefit of Christ’s Salvation, but through an unwillingness to have it" (The Spirit of Prayer - William Law)
Remember the Country Western song lyrics saying, 'everyone wants to go to heaven but not today'? That is the heart of sin, the unwillingness to so embrace Christ now that by the time we get to go to heaven we have been transformed into His tempers. We all would joyfully have Him usher us into OUR eternal joys, and especially not at the expense of losing our earthly joys. But in reality we do not want to enter into His eternal joys but enter into ours, on steroids.
Here, in this life, as we walk out His love, we can rejoice in His sovereignty over every second of our existence and walk in His expressed desires for our love opportunities. After a lifetime of being the blessed ones of the beatitudes, we will be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, loving everyone without prejudice.
If He is to save you, it must be in this life, for it is here we have the ability to live His love and become accustomed to the rare Breath of Heaven. Here is where we join His loving and forsake our idols, those things that bring us joy other than Christ Himself. To have His tempers formed in your heart is the salvation of Christ.
"But if you will not to want to have His Tempers brought forth in you, if your faith and desire does not seek, and cry to Christ for them with the same depth, as the lame asked to walk, and the blind to see, then it must be said you are unwilling to have Christ to be your Savior." (The Spirit of Prayer - William Law)
But if you seek His heart with all your heart, His ways become your ways and His desires your desires. How did He learn these Tempers from Father? By the things He suffered! You too will suffer this life. Those things you gain cause the pain, not remove it. Why not suffer Love's loving. Then you will be prepared to experience that Eternal Love.
Prayer of Faith - Building up our receive muscle.
"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” (Mar 11:24 NAS)
Oh Father of lights, it is our deepest privilege to place our hearts, our very being, humbly before You and acknowledge You as our Father. Thank You for not being absent, unapproachable, or ashamed of us. Thank you for embracing us in the dark of the nights, in the silences between Your workings in and through us. Thank You for being so near we can and all too often miss You, ignore, and take You for granted. Returning is such a privilege while remaining is deep.
Let us take that bold act of inner resolution and run to You with our arms out waving, giggling, and try with all our strength to knock you down as we smash into Your arms and bury our faces into Your neck trying to hug the breath out of You. Deep down we are praying You neither fall over nor smother. We need You to be bigger than all we can do to overcome You.
Let us not be so arrogant as to think in our years we gain godhood. But as Your beloved children we get to play and grow before You forever and when selfish and rude to each other You instruct us with Your embrace: Your Eternal, Unmeasurable, Vast, Flowing Love of giving.
Do not leave us to seek love or joy or peace as much as to give what portion we enjoy to others we play with on this playground of life. Teach us to give so much away that we must turn anew to You and receive once again Your Total Self we find both in the Jesus of history and His Spirit of love in us. Fill us up with all Your fullness. Break us of our rationed mentality. Let us not seek just a drink from You but to drown in You.
Now to You Who through Your abilities at work in us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, all glory to You in Christ Jesus.
Either Way You are Dead and Alive
We all, in Adam, ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and are dead to God from birth. Yet we all walked around thinking we were alive and God was just fooling. Now all are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus but we still think God is just fooling. Every time God declares truth we go out of our way to declare Him a liar.
Consider this. The very day Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they died to what had been uninterrupted and unmarred fellowship with God. They went from having God to having things, like shame of nakedness. In Christ Jesus we all were put to a second death, a death to the first death. We are born anew and live in eternal union with God.
We are either dead to God or dead to sin. Or another way, we are either alive to sin or alive to God. When we are alive to sin our identity is bound to our flesh. When we are alive to God we are bound to Love loving. The flesh self looks out for itself and the Spirit of Love is a self for others.
So whether alive to God or alive to sin we first have to be dead. These are different deaths, but real deaths nonetheless. Yet I’ll bet, before you accepted Christ’s act of Love you thought you were alive and now, hearing you are alive in Christ Jesus, you sense flesh stuff and think yourself dead to God. That is a paradox.
Did Christ die for you? Doubt it and continue in doubt or believe His Life is your very life and continue in belief. Watch the flesh and die to the truth or keep your eyes on Jesus and live.
Rejection of Love Personified
Past - Present - Future
Pray the future, accept the present, forgive the past.
Now is forever. Neither the regrets of the past nor fear of the future have room in the now. Right now and now and now God loves you. In fact, since Jesus declaration of eternal life, you have no excuse to try and rewrite the past. Even if a past event has left you without a body or emotional part, your part in the now is the same as it is for any other person who ever lived. Love.
What of the future? If God has taken care of yesterday's oops then tomorrow's abysmal failures are covered too. In fact, if you will forgive your potential failures, you love yourself now. If you accept God's release from past guilt, you love Him now.
The now is where you get those eternal hugs. Maybe even a tickle now and again.
John 15:12 Jesus speaking, "This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.”
The ‘love one another’ can be translated ‘love yourselves’. Now you can love yourself.
Life Eternal or Who’s your…
This I have written to you, the ones believing in the name of the Son of God, in order that you should know that you have Life Eternal by believing in the Name of the Son of God. (1John 5:13 DLT)
For some reason and for the majority of humanity, even after experiencing this life of pain, confusion, and challenge, the gaining of something called ‘life eternal’ sounds really inviting. But no one equates that eternity with this type of living going on forever.
Eternal life for most is really the proverbial escape from this life to something much better. It is a program for happiness and an escape from fear, pain, and an angry god. In this life, all sorts of hopes are offered to us, promising to release our fear of death and judgement and call us to live at peace with some god, ourselves, and everyone else.
The verse above specifically presents this hope but in the God of the Bible. It invites us to confirm and validate our worth by our having embraced the Name of the Son of God and an encouragement to continue to do so. But what is the Name of the Son of God?
For most it is Jesus. Many have returned to the hebrew word of Yeshua.
Let us first focus on the name Yeshua. It is two words run together; ye and shua. The ye is a shortened form of the Name of God, the I AM WHAT I AM that Moses talked to at the burning bush. Shua means to save (make whole, complete, healthy). So the name Yeshua ends up a statement of fact; ‘I am your wholeness, completeness, and your health’. Jesus is the greek equivalent of Yeshua. In short, the Name we trust is an Eternal Living promise which if we believe it, we know we are completely completed, totally whole, and forever healthy. This is Life Eternal and His Living in us.
Verse 13 is John’s conclusion of the previous two verses:
And this is the testimony; "God has given us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. The one who HAS the Son HAS The Life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have Life.” (1John 5:11, 12 DLT)