Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A fearful expectation of judgment or a Loving expectation of mercy?


 1And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 
1 John 4:17-18 NLT

 When you think of God what comes to mind? When you reflect on who He is and what He does, what is your impression of Him? Do images of a loving Father with open arms prevail in your thinking? Or does the concept of a harsh taskmaster eagerly awaiting to punish you for your failures dominate your view of God?

 If your perception of God is that of a loving Father, then you have received the Love of God in its fullness. You have tasted and seen that the Lord is Good. You have partaken of His great Grace and know He is for you and never against you. 

 If your impression of God is that of the harsh taskmaster then you have not received the Love of God in its fullness. You have not fully understood His Grace. You haven't fully received of the Gift of Righteousness. You still see Him charging you and accounting your sins against you. 

 What happens when we haven't received this Love in its fullness? The Word is clear. We will have a fearful expectation of judgment. We still fear punishment for our sins and missteps. 

 There are many reasons why some have not received His Love in its fullness, producing this fearful expectation of bad, and payback and punishment. All of them are rooted in religious tradition. Traditions of men apart from the Word and the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 Let's uncover and expose and answer these traditions so people can come to the truth and receive His Love in its fullness. The first reason people aren't receiving His Love is that tradition teaches all the blessings and Goodness of God are rewards. Rewards are granted because of achievements and good works. They are earned, they are not gifts. 

 God is a rewarder, Hebrews 11 tells us this. This passage though doesn't teach that His Love, His Goodness, His blessings, and healing power are rewards. When we see the hand of God in blessings as only rewarding good work, then we move into a performance-based faith. We won't trust God to help us or heal us, but work to achieve His help and healing. 

 God is a Good Father. He blesses us because He is Good not because we are Good. He blesses us because He is a Loving Father who wants our best. He doesn't bless us because we have achieved enough, or performed well enough. The blessing was bestowed because Christ purchased it for us in the Finished Work, not because of our works. 

Another reason for not receiving His Love in its fullness is the tradition of men that God has not forgiven you of all your sins, past present, and future. That He is remembering your sins. Religious tradition concerning sin sounds something like this:

 "Your sins hinder your prayers!"
 "Your sins are a wedge between you and God!"

 God has forgiven you once for all time at the Cross. These statements and sentiments simply are untrue. Jesus has forgiven all our sins past and present and future. Because of Jesus, God has said He would not remember our sins. The Blood washed us and cleanses us from our sins once for all time. Let's honor Jesus' work and not our work or performance.

14 who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins Colossians 1:14 TLB

Clearly, we are forgiven of all our sins. This includes future sins. This is Good News.

then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV

 If God is not remembering our sins then why are we? We are forgiven and our sins are forgotten.

 God has forgiven us eternally, once for all time. God isn't holding our sins against us. God has said He will remember our sins no more. If we are forgiven and made Righteous we then never need fear judgment or punishment. We can walk in and fully receive His great Love for us. His Love received casts out all fear, fear of punishment, payback, and retaliation. 

 In summation, we can walk in confidence with God when we receive His great Love. We can walk free of torment when we know how much He Loves us. We can trample on fear and cast down wrong images of God the more we know and understand His Love for us. We will continue uprooting these wrong concepts as we discover more and more just how much He Loves us and is for us and not against us. 

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Two kinds of Righteousness: Understanding self righteousness

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:3-4 NKJV

 Did you know there are two kinds of Righteousness? There is the Gift of Righteousness that I have spoken of continually throughout many studies on this blog site. There is, however, another kind of righteousness and I want to define it and detail it so you can be sure what kind of righteousness you're walking in.

 The Gift of Righteousness is what the prophets of old and even the Patriarchs and saints of the Old Testament longed for. Receiving the Gift of God's Righteousness sets one apart and brings favor and blessing in all areas of life. How do we define this Righteousness?

 Righteousness is that Gift that gives the believer permanent right standing before God. It's that gift whereby one has everlasting acceptance and approval with God. It's that gift where we are always welcomed in God's presence. It's that gift where we can stand before our Father without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. It's that gift that causes one's sins never again to be imputed to their account. 

 This is such good news. Knowing we are accepted and approved and walk without condemnation because of Christ causes us to rejoice in the Father's Love and kindness. We don't shrink back from God, and when we sin we run to our Father not away from Him. Because of our permanent acceptance and favor, we can sing of our Father's Love forever!

 That is the Gift of Righteousness, now what is the other kind of righteousness? The other kind of righteousness is self-righteousness. The righteousness of self and personal sacrifice.

 Self-righteousness is that righteousness inspired by human zeal and effort. It's actively pursued to receive the accolades and applause of men. Its boast is in its work, its doing, its discipline, and sacrifices made.

 How can one tell then whether they are in self-righteousness or walking in the Gift of Righteousness? Glad you asked. To find the answer a simple examination of your words, and what your boasting in is all that's needed. 

 When one speaks of all their personal disciplines and personal achievements as a result, without honoring God's ability in them and His hand moving on their behalf, be aware that is self-righteousness talking. It's Grace and His goodness that enabled any believer to walk in victory in any area.

 When one continually looks to their own sacrifices and all they have given and done for God to ascertain their worth and value in the kingdom, know that is self-righteousness motivating them. It is self-righteousness driving them to keep performing. To keep trying to earn what is only freely given.

 How can we contrast the Gift of Righteousness and self-righteousness? Here is the most simplistic way possible:

 The Gift of Righteousness says: Look at what the Lord has done!
 Self-righteousness says: Look at what I've done for you, Lord!

 Relinquish all self-righteousness. All the achievements any personal performance, or spiritual disciplines, or principles of Faith acted on have attained are all rooted in His Finished Work of redemption first and foremost. It was His procuring our salvation, and giving us His life and nature within that caused the desire for any principle or discipline to be acted on. Where is boasting then?

 In summation, walk in God's Gift of Righteousness, and remain thankful and humble because it was all of Christ and none of us that brought success in any area of our walk with God. Never boast of your work, your doing, or your success in walking out principles of Faith, Healing, and Holy Spirit power. Boast in Christ's once for all sacrifice and His great Love for you and nothing else and walk in peace. 


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Another Mistaken idea: Generational curses

keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7 NKJV

Are you struggling with sin? Are you not walking in victory in some area of your life? Are you experiencing setbacks and discouragement over and over? Are you suffering through a tragic loss? Then you may have a generational curse that needs to be broken. 

 What exactly is a generational curse? I am not really 100% sure myself but apparently if your great grandparents sinned, then you are also suffering for their deeds. Also apparently receiving the free gift of Grace, trusting in Christ alone, is not enough to be free.

 Although I am being a little tongue in cheek, this idea of curses is a serious one that has held many Christians in bondage. Is the reason they are experiencing hard times because of a generational curse? Sadly, some teach this and some believe it. 

 Some Christian ministries are teaching the concept of generational curses. Teaching things like, the reason you haven't received healing is because of a generational curse. Unanswered prayer? That's a generational curse. Preachers are peddling this notion of generational curses to sell books and are profiting off the misery of the saints. It's not right and it's not edifying the Body of Christ.

 Several years ago, my family experienced a tragic loss, my child was lost in the womb. When I went to church, a sincere and well-meaning but highly misinformed woman came to me and said perhaps the baby was lost because there was a generational curse involved. Not the most encouraging thing to hear, but I responded with Grace and walked away. This is the fruit of this teaching.

 Let me be clear, the concept of generational curses is a mistaken idea that has no basis in the New Covenant. Our text reveals what people call a generational curse. Yet they fail to keep it in context and to who the audience addressed was. 

 This concept was introduced during the exodus from Egypt to the promised land. This was to be the punishment for the sin of idolatry. This of course was before Christ came and paid the price for mankind. What is most interesting is the proponents of this mistaken idea also exclude God's clear words to the nation of Israel by the Prophet Ezekial

 God already ceased from the generational cursing business before the cross. He clearly says God holds the person accountable for their sins, not their children. God is a personal God, not a distant deity. He is not unjust.

 The real issue with the notion of "generational curses" is that it diminishes the work of Christ on the Cross. This concept says Jesus' Finished Work is insufficient. That Christ's shed blood is weak and not powerful enough to cleanse us from all sin and its effects. That Jesus' redemptive work at Calvary was unable to completely redeem us from any and all curses. That the New Creation is an incomplete work and we need something additional to be completely free.

 Some would say, ok maybe for Christians but come on, sinners, those without Christ surely have curses in their life. Have you not read where John says Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world? Even the lost are not punished with curses. Of course, the lost experience consequences for sins and don't have peace in their life until they receive Jesus' free gift but these aren't curses from God.

 The reason Christians can accept notions like "generational curses" is because they are uninformed and misinformed about the cross. They really don't understand what transpired on that tree. At the cross, Christ exchanged our old sinful nature with His perfect nature, we are partakers of His divine nature. Christ exchanged our unrighteousness for His perfect Righteousness. Christ perfectly redeemed us from the curse. He became something He never was, so we could become something we've never been. 

 He cleansed us, healed us, redeemed us, forgave us, and made it possible for whosoever will to become a child of God. The reality of the New Creation destroys the concept of generational curses. In Christ, all things are made new and all of the old is passed. Not just a part but all.

 In summation, reject any teaching or doctrine that tries to diminish the work of Jesus. That teaches there are additional steps you must take after accepting Jesus in order to find freedom and victory. The Cross was enough!


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

If God is Good, why are there so many tragedies?

 

For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Psalm 117:2 MEV

 For the purpose of this study may I ask have you ever experienced a personal tragedy? That is a loved one lost or injured in a natural disaster, a car wreck, or an accident. What about those who lost their loved one or a co-worker or an acquaintance in a tragic event like 9/11 or some type of mass shooting? Ever then asked God why?

  All believers can boast of God's goodness when things are going well. The real question is can we hold fast to this same belief when things aren't going so well? Can we say with bold confidence that God is always Good even in the face of tragedy and loss? 

 This bold confidence and conviction to proclaim His all the time Goodness and to fully believe it unhindered by circumstance is a journey of Faith, Grace, and personal experience. This is a journey that some have not embarked on. It is not an easy journey for anyone.

 It's a journey of Faith because we fix our minds on the Word, and are not moved by any circumstance or situation. It's a journey of Grace because we trust in Christ alone and not in ourselves in any way. Not our intellect, not our reasoning, not our doing or abilities to try and "fix" something. Finally, it's a journey of personal experience because we also have experienced loss and tragedy and chosen to still believe God wasn't at fault but that He is always Good. 

 The enemy doesn't want you on the journey. Religious tradition creates new theologies designed to prove that God can still be Good but can also kill your son or daughter with some disease or disaster. Tradition says God is Good but also sends destruction, disaster, and devastation throughout the planet. Religion says God can heal but also makes you sick and afflicts people with a disease for some mysterious purpose. The enemy loves religion but also loves his tactics of accusation.

 When the enemy can't convince you of your unworthiness, or unrighteousness, when he can't push you into accepting his accusations about your standing with God, he will immediately attempt to persuade you to accept accusations about God. He begins to accuse God to you. He tries his hardest to get you to accept his lies about the Father. He impugns God's Goodness, His justice, His will for you. He tries to get you to question God's faithfulness toward you. 

 He works to get you to accept religious lies about God;

 "God's willing to heal some but not you."
 "God's goodness and mercy only go so far."
"God's putting this on you to punish you."
"God brought this in your life to better you, if you resist it you're rebelling against God."

 In answering the question about why tragedies, we must firmly establish our hearts on the Biblical and Christ demonstrated truth that God is always Good. No matter how the question of suffering is worded, the answer is only found when we know and understand and receive the truth that God Almighty is a Good Father. Always has been and always is. 

 Jesus Himself said He is the express image of the Father. Jesus said He only does what He sees the Father doing. Jesus when asked by the Disciples to show them the Father, responded if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Jesus didn't make men sick. Jesus didn't cause men to experience poverty. He never sent pestilence, plague, or pandemic. Jesus only went about doing Good. He healed, raised the dead, prospered people, and bore the curse for mankind on that tree, and arose three days later to establish a New and better Covenant.

 According to Jesus, there were even tragic events when He walked the earth. Luke's Gospel records Jesus mentioning the tower of Siloam falling.  Apparently, 18 people died in this tragic event. Why didn't Jesus prevent it? Does that make Him less Good?

Why God?

 We ask why whenever we see great tragedy. We ask why God when we see natural disasters or famine strike various lands and nations or cities. We ask why when a loved one is afflicted with sickness or disease. 

 In helping us to grasp the truth, allow me to ask another question first. Why did God allow you to watch pornographic videos? Why did God allow people to make/star in, those sinful pornographic videos? Why did God allow you to not report all your time wasted at work? Why did God allow people you may know or even yourself to commit adultery, coldly betraying spouse and child? 

 When we keep these types of questions in the practical every day of life realm, many of the extreme sovereignty teachings fail, and many questions find their own answers. These other questions are rarely asked yet whenever tragedy strikes we ask God why. The answer to the little things provides the answer to the bigger things.

 First, God allows what we allow. This may sound harsh but it is truly loving. God gave man free will. How we use that will oftentimes determine if there will be tragic consequences. Secondly, because God allows what we allow i.e. free will, the planet became a fallen and fractured creation. In a fallen world, where sinful men dominate, and the enemy is the god of this fractured system, (see 2 Corinthians 4), we will continue to see disasters, destruction, devastation, and desolation until Christ returns. 

 That's why there are tragedies. Let us not lose hope though. Let us not throw in the proverbial towel. Let us not just quit and simply lay down as a soft target for the enemy and curse on the earth to come freely attack. 

 Jesus is alive! Happiness and joy are ours in Christ. We know that any suffering here is nothing compared to the abounding blessings glory will bring to those who believe for all eternity. In this life, Jesus is still Lord. We have the Spirit within us. God, by Faith, can lead us and guide us into safe paths of protection. 

 Though the enemy is defeated, he is an outlaw fallen angel and he may attack but God has given us powerful weapons to counter him. We have the armor of God. That is knowing who God is, who we are, and enforcing the enemy's defeat. This may be a fallen world but Christ is here with us, He may bring us out or bring us through but we always have Him with us. This is why we can trust in Christ and in His Goodness.

 In summation, God is Good. True, there may be tragedy in a fallen world, however, don't stop there. Jesus said in Him we can overcome. We can walk in victory because in the midst of any situation we know God didn't cause it, ordain it, or send it. We can always run to Him. He is our shield, our defense, and our protector. He is our dwelling place. God is always Good, He is not the author or "allower" of evil or tragedy. God is a Good Father, always!



Image by Anand Kumar from Pixabay

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

God is not mad at you

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:16-18 NLT

 God is a Good Father. God loves us with an everlasting, eternal love. God's love for us has nothing to do with what we do or don't do. His love for us is not a response to what we have done, how well we did it, and how often we did it. His love for us is based on His Goodness, tender mercies, and great compassion alone.

 In order to walk in the fullness of this truth, we have to move away from mere cliche, formulas, and ritualistic religiosity. Too often, the Love God has for His people is not experienced in its fullness because believers have allowed the truth of God's love to become a cliche in their minds. We say "God loves you" and many simply dismiss it as an abstract notion, not something that affects their lives directly.

 I recall as a young man just about to go into the Military and a senior citizen handed me a gospel tract that stated "you are special." The tract revealed God loved me. I dismissed it at that time. I saw it as a far-away truth that could never mean much to me. Why was this? Because I was seeking validation from man and not God.

 God's great Love for us is not a mere cliche. It is not just something we tell people but don't really believe ourselves. God's Love is what gives us purpose and motivation. God's Love strengthens and encourages us. God's Love for us casts out fear and reminds us of how much we are loved by a Good Father. Not an absentee father, or a neglectful father, but a loving Father who is always there for us.

 In order to fully experience and walk in this great Love for us, we must move away from turning truths from God's Word into mere formulas. Sometimes, believers see God as the harsh taskmaster. If God is the angry taskmaster, we must develop formulas so as to never mess up and appease this angry god. This may not be the only reason we create formulas, but ensuring we appease the angry God/don't want God mad at me is still one reason many do. 

 Faith has been turned into a formula. Now it is true that there are principles of Faith i.e. believing in your heart and speaking with your mouth. But these principles though were never designed to turn Faith into a formula. We turn many truths into formulas: relationships, prosperity, healing, etc.

Formulas are really an outward expression of living a performance-driven life. If we can just get the formula right then God will reward and accept us. This is the mindset that goes into this way of thinking.

 Because of the excesses of the seed-faith teaching, people teach that all our actions are "seeds." Plant enough good seeds and people all around will bless you and your relationships will be great. This is performance and formula, not Faith. 

 Generally speaking, when you are friendly and kind, people will be kind to you. However, this is not a law. This is not a formula. Why? Because this fails to account for other people's free will and the condition of their heart and mind. It doesn't take into account what words they have been feeding on, i.e. the words of the world, the lust of the flesh, or the words of the enemy. 

 I have seen it in law enforcement. Even the most patient, respectful, and long-suffering officers have been in altercations with suspects or inmates. In relationships, I have seen one spouse treat their spouse well and the other still left them, pursuing adultery instead. Look at Jesus. He is the person of Grace and still, people walked away from him and one of the 12 even betrayed Him. 

 The point is we can't control others. We can't make them receive love and goodness. Love is received not earned. That's ritualistic religion doesn't walk in the fullness of His Love. 

 Religious rituals are exercised because those who practice them still see God as angry and full of vengeance. They see Him as the harsh taskmaster. If they do this practice enough times God will finally accept them, He won't be mad at them. 

 We need to relinquish all these formulas and religious rituals. God longs for His people to open their eyes and see just how much He loves them. He wants His people to know He is not mad at them no matter what.

 God is not mad at us when we sin. He saw us before we received His salvation. He saw all of our missteps and mess-ups and received us in His family anyway. He knew before we were even born all the mistakes, all the rebellion, and all the selfish actions we'd take, and yet He still died for us, He still desired us, and still chose us to be in His family. 

 God is not mad at us, because Jesus paid the price in its fullness. Jesus satisfied the claims of divine justice. There is nothing that can make God angry at us. Under the Old, before the Cross, yes God was angry at the injustice and evils sin produced. So He did something about it. God, Himself came down to earth, lived as one of us, and chose to die for all of us. He arose victorious the third day defeating the enemy, death itself, and the grave. 

 Certainly, God is not pleased with our actions when we lose our temper with our spouse or loved one. He isn't pleased with sinful lifestyles, because He knows the bondage it brings. Yet, He is not angry or mad at us. He isn't condemning us. The price for those actions has already been paid. His Grace and unconditional Love just lead us into better choices. 

 God is not mad at us. We are loved by our Father eternally. We can actually partake of this Love and receive it in its fullness. His Love is unconditional and ever-present in our lives. His Love is not a mere cliche or abstract concept. It's real, and active in our lives.

 We don't have to perform to get it. We don't have to get the formula perfected to receive it. We don't have to turn relationships into rituals for God to pour out His Love in greater measure.

 Formulas are man-made concepts. The truths of the Word were given by a loving God showing us the bright path to travel. Walking by Faith, walking in love, walking victorious lives are not formulas. 

 Don't let any minister or group try to convince you there is a formula for the perfect marriage. Marriage is the joining of two imperfect people. If both desire to flow with God and His Love then there will be harmony. No formula there. If one or both spouses don't desire God or follow His ways there will be disunity and sadly it may not last. We can only follow God, walk-in love towards our spouse, and pray for them, the rest is their decision to accept God's Love or to disregard it. Formulas are also created to shield us from hurt. In a fallen world, we may get hurt, but God is greater and His Love is there to minister healing and wholeness if that happens.

 In summation, God is a loving Father who will never be mad at you. He isn't condemning you. He isn't disappointed with you. His arms aren't folded in disgust at you. His arms are wide open receiving you gladly because He loves you with an unconditional love that cannot be quenched. God Loves you!

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Goodness of God: correction and instruction

 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:11-13 NKJV

 In our last post, we looked at the chastening of the Lord. We saw that God isn't using trauma, terror, tragedy, or turmoil to chasten or instruct and correct His children. That God is a Good Father who would never harm or hurt His own. It is absolutely vital to know and understand who God is and what He is like.

 Understanding who God is, what His character is, and how He treats us is a vital truth. At the same time, seeing passages that reveal that God corrects leads us to a question. A rather valid question I might add. 

 Does the concept that God corrects His people, run contrary to Grace? Is it counter to Righteousness and the Gospel that God instructs and leads us into truth and away from the wrong, the error, the false? Does it bring to mind the question that God who said He wouldn't remember our sins, has to remember our sins if He is correcting and instructing us?

These are important questions that need to be answered. The first thing we must establish is our Righteousness in Christ and the truth that Jesus has completely paid for our sins and failures. Because Jesus paid for our sins we never have to.

 Jesus completely paid the price at the Cross. His once for all time sacrifice met and fulfilled all the claims of divine justice. Jesus shed blood, death and burial was a more than enough payment. Even though we still miss it, blow it, just plain sin, we are not required to make up for it. We aren't required to make additional payments on account of our sins and failures. Jesus' blood was more than enough.

 Because of Jesus' Finished Work, God is satisfied. There is no longer any demand for additional payments. There is no demand for further punishment for sins, iniquities, and transgressions. See how Isaiah reveals this powerful and complete sacrifice and once for all payment for sins

God is not punishing us when we sin. He punished sins in the body of Jesus on the Cross. The amazing blessedness of God's great gift of Righteousness is that God no longer imputes our sins to our account. He remembers our sins no more. He has forgiven us once for all time. This is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus.

 What we must renew our minds to is that correction and instruction are not punishment. Now if you sin, there can be natural consequences. This doesn't mean God brought those upon you. Your own choices and actions did that. Also, understand God isn't punishing you or angry at you.

 Understanding correction and instruction aren't punishment, we must grow to understand that because God loves us He corrects us. If He corrects us doesn't that mean He is remembering our sins? No that doesn't mean that.

 What we must understand is that spiritual growth and development and maturity have no bearing on our salvation. What I mean is this. Salvation, redemption, being made Righteous, freely forgiven once for all time are what Christ gave us the moment we believed. Salvation and redemption have nothing to do with spiritual growth. Spiritual growth and maturity are not automatic.

 We have believers who have been saved for decades, and they still hold onto grudges, harbor resentment, gossip, look down on others, and are not joyful. Does this mean they aren't really saved? Of course not. Fruit is developed, fruit is grown. If you plant a fruit tree, but never tend to it, never give it water and such it won't produce. It doesn't change the fact that it is still a fruit tree.

 Because of Jesus God isn't imputing sin to our account. That is, God isn't holding our faults over our heads, demanding we do better, withholding His goodness and love and blessing until we do. The blessings, answered prayer, favor, and goodness are already ours because of Jesus. He blesses us because He is Good not because we are.

 Therefore our sins and shortcomings are not remembered. We aren't out of fellowship, out of intimacy with God because we fail. That said because of God's great love for us He wants us to grow up. God sees us. He sees our motives and actions and words. 

 God sees us, He first sees us Righteous, and rejoices because we carry the fragrance of Jesus. As our Father, He sees us when we aren't our best. Because He wants our best, He comes to us in love and brings correction.

 Our two text reveals how He corrects. He corrects us with the Word. He corrects us with His Grace. His great Grace upon us shows us a better way. Correction is a good thing because it helps us grow up, helps mature us, and leads us to be a bigger blessing to ourselves and others. 

 Correction and instruction are never contrary to Grace. His Grace teaches us and instructs us. Not man-made tradition, but His Grace leads us into all truth. Is this progressive sanctification? No! We were already sanctified when we believed. This is progressive maturity. God's Word and Grace, correct, lead, guide, and instructs us, and we progressively mature outwardly into what Christ already made us inwardly. 

 In summation, a Good God, a loving Father instructs and corrects us because He loves us. He doesn't punish us. He doesn't use evil to teach or train us. His Word and His Grace bring instruction and correction when needed. None of this is condemnation or the idea that the Spirit "convicts" us. Conviction is what the Spirit does for the World because they have rejected Jesus. 

 The Spirit reminds us of our Righteousness. God reminds us of our identity. God shows us who we are and whose we are. The Word shows us the better way. Grace received empowers us to grow up in Him. As children of God, the Spirit leads us into all truth and guides us into the way we should go in our day-to-day life. God loves us unconditionally and eternally. He desires we grow in Grace and in the knowledge of Jesus. 



Image by bpcraddock from Pixabay 

Monday, September 6, 2021

What is the Chastening of the Lord?

 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:56 MEV

 God is a Good Father. This is a truth I never get weary from proclaiming. It's the very foundation of our Faith. It's the motivation of why God sent the Lord Jesus Christ to be the substitutionary sacrifice for all our sins and afflictions, sickness and disease, and spiritual death. While most Christians fully acknowledge God is Good, there is one area that seems to cause many to stumble. 

 The idea that God chastens His children has been a source of confusion for so many. That is, they believe God is Good but if you foul up, fail, falter or fall into sin your proverbial goose is cooked. God is really angry and disappointed in your failure to measure up, and He will punish you greatly for it.

 First, let's see what the New Covenant states about this subject.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LordNor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5b-6 NKJV

 This passage establishes that God does in fact chasten His children. That is never been questioned or contested. What I do contest and disagree with is the idea of how He chastens us. Specifically, what does chastening actually mean? 

 Examine this passage in light of the New Covenant. In light of Jesus' revealed will and character. In the light of God's all the time goodness. What words pop out of this passage? 

 Do not despise or be discouraged when you are being chastened. God chastens those whom He loves. Did you catch that? Those whom He loves!

 The fact that the Word declared God chastens those whom He loves should give us better insight as to what chastening means. The fact that in the same passage as the word chastening appears so does the words for whom God loves, should bring clarity as to what chastening means and what it can't mean.

 The word chasten simply means instruction and nurturing. It carries the implication of correction. Correction is a good thing, not a bad thing. If I get the answer wrong, I want to know the right answer so I can grow and be better equipped. 

 I dare say we've all known parents who never corrected their children, always gave in to their demands, and never disciplined them when they did wrong. What kind of behavior did these children exhibit as a result? Rebellious, selfish, and sadly sometimes destructive.

 What God wants His people to know is, who He really is. He is a Good Father. He is not the harsh taskmaster who is ready to send destruction your way the moment you mess up. He is not the impatient king who is burdensome with His demands and will quickly strike you with affliction when you miss the mark in meeting all the harsh requirements. He is a loving Father who cares for His own.

 If chastening simply means instruction and nurturing and carries the connotation of correction, how then does He instruct, or correct? God does not instruct us by killing our loved one. He doesn't correct us by afflicting us with painful sickness or disease. God's nurturing or the development of His children's growth, doesn't mean He bankrupts our business, causes our car to be wrecked, or takes away our possessions. A Good Father would never do these things, and God is always Good.

 God loves us unconditionally. His arms are never folded in disapproval or disappointment over our failures or foul-ups. He isn't pointing His finger at us in disgust when we blow it, falling into sin and wrongdoing. Understand, God is Good and just, He isn't pleased with the sin or wrong, but He is still pleased with us because we are His beloved children made Righteous by the Blood. He still rejoices over us, the redeemed, because He loves us and will never turn His back on us or cast us out. He is a loving Father.

 Knowing that God isn't pleased with the sin, the poor choice, the wrong thinking, the wrong believing, the wrong speaking, leads us to the why He corrects. He corrects us because He loves us. He corrects us because these actions, deeds, thoughts, words, and beliefs are detrimental to our growth. They hurt others and even ourselves. They are also contrary to our new nature. They are counter to who Christ already made us in the Finished Work. 

 Knowing why He corrects, because He loves us and wants us to grow up in Him, we must answer how He corrects. Let's see what His Word declares.

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? Hebrews 12:9 NKJV

 This passage gives the key to "the how" He corrects. The confusion about chastening would fade away if we just read and understood this passage. Hebrews reveals we had human fathers who corrected us. How? in the flesh, that is by natural means. The Word goes on to describe God as the Father of spirits. So how does He correct? In the spirit. By spiritual means not natural. That removes the idea of catastrophes, cataclysmic destruction, and calamities being the method of His correction. 

 His correction method is completed in the spiritual realm. 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

 How does He correct? He uses His Word. The Corinthian church had many issues in their midst. How did the Spirit through Paul correct? Did God through Paul say;

"you better straighten up or you're gonna get it?" 
"I have had just about enough of this behavior!"
"God is so fed up, disgusted, and done with you!"

No, God spoke to them about their identity. God used a letter, His Word through Paul to bring the correction. God didn't send a mega-tsunami to wipe them out. He didn't send an earthquake to get them.

 How does God correct us? How does He bring about growth? How does He train us up? God uses His Word to bring us to maturity. He reminds us of whose we are, who we belong to. He reminds us of who we are in Him, He reminds us of our identity. He reminds us that we are the Righteousness of God in Him. He makes us aware again that we are the redeemed and these thoughts, words or actions are not who we are. He reveals His steadfast, and unconditional Love for us in greater and greater measure.

 In summation, we have a Good Father who always wants our best. We have a Good Father who longs for His people to know who He is. That He is always Good. That He loves us unconditionally and for all time and eternity. 

 He is so Good and loving that He takes the time to help us grow, mature, and walk out who He has already made us inwardly through the Finished Work. Chastening is a good thing, it is not the traditional religious idea of God's punishment. God punished Jesus for our sins, He isn't ever going to punish the believer's sin because the price has already been paid. We have a Good Father, amen. 


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Healed of Covid-19

 Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

 He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. “By His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 MEV

 God is a Good Father. I have been consistent and steadfast and faithful to continually proclaim that God is always Good. That He is the healer. That He is never the author of evil, of sickness and disease, or any form of tragedy or destruction. What do you do though, when tough times come? 

 What about after you agree that God is always Good and He is the healer and suddenly your own body is attacked with a major sickness? What do you do in the midst of this difficult time? Do you change your theology or thinking? Or do you hold fast to your profession of Faith that God is always Good? I had the opportunity to discover just what I would do in this same situation.

 After sharing a series examining the theology of sickness and disease I went on a vacation. While on vacation, I began experiencing a myriad of symptoms. Fever and some slight congestion. Yet I never lost taste or smell. I said to myself no way is this the coronavirus I don't have all the symptoms. However, when I returned home the symptoms continued and grew more intense. So I decided to go to my physician.

 She examined me, told me I need to get tested. Once tested the results confirmed the covid-19 virus had struck my body. The coronavirus gave me pneumonia, fever, and general fatigue. I was basically bedridden for about four or five days, and I had no appetite. This was the problem, now what was the solution? What do I do in the midst of an obvious attack from the enemy and the results of a fallen world?

 I would like to show you what I did in the midst of this trial. Why? so as to perhaps help you whenever tough times come your way. Let's begin looking at the steps I took to overcome.

Reject condemnation

 The first thing I did was to reject the condemnation of the enemy. When tough times come, the enemy loves to bring accusations that all your sins are the cause of it. Reject his lies. Remember, we are in the New Covenant. Jesus has completely forgiven us of all our sins, past and present and future. He has made us who believe the Righteousness of God in Christ. Don't accept the enemy's condemnation. 

 Even if your sins caused the problem, that's still none of the devil's business. God has already forgiven you. You are Righteous. God gave us Jesus' Righteousness, therefore we are just as Righteous as God. Standfast in your Righteousness.

Join the natural and supernatural

 Of course, I believe in divine health and healing. Of course, I believe Jesus bore all my sickness and disease at the Cross. Of course, I believe I am already healed because of Jesus' finished work of redemption. That said, there is nothing contrary to this by following natural and practical wisdom. Yes, I did stay in bed. Yes, I did get plenty of rest. Yes, even though I couldn't really eat, I did ensure I took in an abundance of fluids. Especially water. 

 Let me also say, I did take medication as well. I took the medication in Faith that it would do what it was supposed to do with no negative side effects. Faith and medicine are not at odds. I followed the doctor's orders. Yet in all this, my trust wasn't so much in medicine but in Christ. Take the prescribed medication. Follow the doctor's advice but keep your full trust in God.

Faith's Confession works

In the midst of this terrible sickness, I didn't spend much time awake. My body was fighting this viral infection. My body was resting and sleeping a lot. So I couldn't spend hours listening to the Word or reading the Word. However, when I was awake, my words were in continued agreement with God. I spoke His healing promises, I spoke to my body, I spoke against the virus, cursing it at its root. 

 Words are powerful. Words are containers. They contain either life and health or death and destruction. 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 MEV

 Words are powerful. I kept agreeing with the Finished Work. I kept agreeing with Jesus' work of redemption. I never used my words to blame God for this illness. I never said He allowed it. I never said He sent it. I never said He is testing me or punishing me. I only agreed with God's all the time Goodness, His Love for me, and Jesus' healing power. 

God's Word is truth

  Though I could not spend as much time as I could in the Word, doesn't mean I never looked at the Word. Even if it was only three minutes I knew feeding on God's Word is essential in feeding my spirit. 

The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity Proverbs 18:14a MEV

 It is vital to feed your spirit as much as possible. Even though it was a very short time there was a verse I repeatedly stood on throughout this ordeal. 

The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore him to health. Psalm 41:3 NASB

 This passage brought hope and peace and enabled me to stand in Faith against this attack. The Word is also a comfort. It reveals the Loving heart of Father God. 

The Prayer of Faith

The Prayer of Faith is powerful and effective. Yes, I prayed in Faith for my healing. Yes, I stood on the Word. Yes, I fed my spirit man the Word. Yes, I confessed or agreed with God. I also knew the power of this prayer. So I went to a video of my Pastor, Pastor Joseph Prince ministering healing. I couldn't watch all of it, but I could forward it to the portion where he prayed this Prayer of Faith over sick people. I received his prayer and agreed with it. I was acting on His Word, agreeing with Him and trusting in Him, and using wisdom by following doctor's orders. 

Healing manifested

 On a Monday, I went back to the doctor. My symptoms at the time seemed alarming. My lungs were dealing with pneumonia, and all the symptoms that come with it. She was concerned that I might need to be admitted to the hospital to get on oxygen. This is not something I wanted. I kept speaking against these symptoms as much as I could. I kept standing, I kept believing. She said she wanted me to come back on Wednesday morning to see how my lungs were doing, she gave me an inhaler in the meantime. Again, I was standing and believing and confessing.

 On Wednesday I awoke out of bed around 10 AM. I took a shower. While doing this I sensed power from on High. I sensed strongly the Word of the Lord speak over my situation. I heard Him say "that's enough!" I heard Him proclaim inwardly that after this day this virus was no more. I felt strength inwardly. There was no more fever. Then I went to the doctor.

 When I got there my temp was normal. The doctor saw me and she was so elated. She said I looked so much better. She could tell an extreme difference from Monday to Wednesday. My lungs were clearer and I didn't need oxygen. I didn't have to go to the hospital. Praise God for His healing love and power.

 Over the next few days, using wisdom I stayed home and rested and allowed my body to fully recover and walk in the healing He provided. To this day, my body is getting stronger and stronger. I am a testimony of His all the time Goodness.

 In summation, God IS always Good. My confession never changed or altered. My theology has remained the same. God is always Good. He is always willing to heal. He is the healer and never the One who brings evil or sickness or disease. You can fully trust in Him. He is always Good! 


Image by Frank Becker from Pixabay 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Goodness of God

 

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:8-9 KJV

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 NKJV

 The Lord is Good and His mercies endure forever. The most basic truth all believers need to be firmly established in is the truth that God is a Good God. God's Goodness is one truth we should never shrink back from, compromise on, nor dilute or water down to fit anyone's personal experience. 

 In fact, the very foundation and basis for our Faith is the Goodness of God. Think of it, how can one trust in or cling to, or hold fast to the words of one who is untrustworthy and their character leaves little to be desired? We agree with God, trusting Him because He is Good, and He is Good all the time.

 How do we know God is a Good God? We have the testimony of His Word which declares He is Good and only does Good. We have the witness of His Son who is the express image of His Father. Jesus went about doing Good and healing all who came to Him. Jesus never brought death or disease. On the contrary, Jesus removed disease and brought life and peace wherever He went. Finally, we have the confirmation by His Spirit within. His Spirit within testifies of His all the time Goodness, and reminds us of His great love for us and confirms our new identity in Christ as the beloved sons and daughters of God.

 Let's look at a beautiful passage that testifies of His all the time Goodness.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

 What a powerful passage from God's Word. This simple but profound passage is full of truth and the proof of God's all the time Goodness. Let's briefly examine it.

 The first thing we can see is that there are great benefits that come with a relationship with the Lord. It is rewarding to serve God. When we begin a new job often we look to the benefits package offered. God has a great benefits package.

 Secondly, we can see His goodness in the fact that He forgives all of our sins and iniquities. He doesn't just forgive some of them but all of them. The New Covenant is clear, Jesus has forgiven us past and present and future. That is good news.

 Let me briefly address something concerning forgiveness. What makes forgiveness of sins something we rejoice about? The reason we rejoice that our sins are no longer counted against us the moment we believe is that we know there is a Heaven to gain and a literal eternal hell to shun.

 Now Hell is not made for man but for the devil and his angels. However if one continues on in rebellion, rejecting God's free gift of Grace they will die in their sins and spend eternity in conscience eternal separation from God. I know this isn't a popular truth, but the Gospel isn't about winning popularity contests but proclaiming the truth.

 Now the deconstruction movement wishes to eliminate hell and anything that seems uncomfortable to the flesh and modern thinking. I truly believe the motive for deconstructing is twofold. First, I believe the natural mind doesn't like being the one scorned or looked down upon by the "crowd." People want to be accepted and to "fit in."

Secondly, I believe the motive has to do with the bitterness some have at the Church and any negative experiences they had while growing up. So no matter the motive, deconstruction simply looks to remove the parts of the Bible they don't like and replace them with the things they do, and in the process, they fashion a god of their own making that is socially acceptable and molds itself in the thinking of modern culture. 

 If you want to stay with the truth of Scripture, you don't dismiss parts you don't like but embrace all of who God says He is. You also trust even in judgment, that God is faithful and just and always Good. He will do what is right even when our natural minds can't always understand it.

 Thirdly, we see God declares He is our healer. This proves that He isn't the author of sickness and disease. He is the healer, not the afflicter. He is not ordaining or causing sickness. He is our healer, this proves how Good He is.

 Fourthly, we see He is the one who redeems from destruction. If He redeems from destruction that means He isn't the author of tragedy, torment, or tribulation. God isn't creating storms or sending tsunamis.  We have all those things because this is a fallen world. When Jesus returns we won't be seeing tornadoes or typhoons.

 Fifthly, we see He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies. God delegated us with authority in this life. We have authority over the evil one. God in His Goodness didn't us powerless against the forces of darkness. He surrounds us with love and mercies and protects us from the work of the enemy.

 Lastly, He satisfies our mouth with good and renews our youth. God is the author of life. He grants us long life on this earth. He isn't ending our life but extending it through His mercy and kindness.

 In summation, we have undeniable proof that God is a Good God. God loves us eternally and unconditionally. He has forgiven us and purchased our healing. He is our redeemer and protector. Because our Father is always Good we can fully trust Him with our whole hearts and lives. God is a Good God. 

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay 

Monday, August 2, 2021

The theology of sickness and disease: Is it God's will for everybody to be healed?

 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

 The truth of how good and loving our Father in Heaven is is not something we should ever compromise or shrink back from. We must boldly proclaim to a lost and hurting world that God is Love. That He is for them and never against them. That He loves everyone with an unmatchless love. 

 Certainly, God is not always pleased with the thoughts, words, and actions of the world. However, His great love perceived and received in its fullness will bring wholeness and new life to whosoever will partake of it. This is why it's imperative we share this love. 

 One way to reveal His love is to proclaim His all the time goodness. We must show this lost world that God is a Good God. When the Church preaches the concept that God is angry, vengeful, full of wrath, and is the bringer of destruction and the author of sickness and infirmity we are causing the lost to flee from God not run to Him.

 When we expose the truth of the Word to the religious misconceptions that God gets glory from people being sick, that He punishes or instructs and trains through disease, or that He makes people sick for some mysterious purpose strongholds are broken. People's minds are set free. They can then see God with clarity and receive His love and goodness in its fullness.

 Upon the exposure of the Word, religious concepts of God fade away in our thinking. His goodness received replaces religious traditional thinking. With His goodness revealed, received, and embraced we can now ask and answer the question that many have, is it always God's will to heal? Or rather the question is more personal, is it God's will to heal me?

 How do we discern or determine God's will? Is it by our reasonings? Is it by our intellect? God's will isn't understood by looking to emotions, experiences, or intellectual rationale and reasonings. His will is understood and determined by His Word and the person of Jesus, the Son, the Word made flesh.

 Jesus is the will of God in action, in manifestation. Traditional religion attempts to gain understanding by the means they are most comfortable with, intellectual rationale, and not with the Spirit. For instance, they only see Jesus healing and working miracles because He wanted to simply confirm that He was the promised Messiah and not because He was God in the flesh revealing a loving Father who is merciful and full of goodness.

 Jesus brought about miracles of provisions, cast out devils, raised the dead, and healed multitudes because He was doing the will of His faithful, loving, and Good Father. Jesus healed and alleviated suffering because of the compassionate love He had for all those He encountered. He healed, not to confirm His identity as the Son of God, the promised Messiah, though He was, but because He was moved with compassion and mercy. 

 So is it God's will to heal you? Let me answer it this way, is God any less compassionate today than He was then? Is He any less merciful today? Is God not as good today as He was when Jesus was on Earth? Is He somehow less willing to heal and make whole today? When did God change? 

 40 On one occasion, a leper came and threw himself down in front of Jesus, pleading for his healing, saying, “You have the power to heal me right now if only you really want to!” 41 Being deeply moved with tender compassion, Jesus reached out and touched the skin of the leper and told him, “Of course I want you to be healed—so now, be cleansed!” 42 Instantly his leprous sores completely disappeared and his skin became smooth!   Mark 1:40-42 TPT

 This is Jesus' attitude about healing. Jesus is revealing He is willing. God is no respecter of persons. If He is willing to heal this man, He is also willing that you receive your healing always and forever.

 Throughout the Gospels, we can clearly see Jesus' attitude about healing and sickness. Look at this account of the healing of the centurion's servant here. Did you see Jesus' attitude about sickness and healing?

 The first words out of Jesus' mouth when he heard there was a man sick, were "I will come and heal him." Jesus revealed this was something He wanted to do. This was something He took delight in. Your healing is what brings Jesus joy, not you being vexed or grievously tormented by sickness and disease. 

 God's good pleasure is to see you healed and whole. God wants you healthy, full of life, vigor, and strength. God's plan of redemption included the healing of your body. Jesus bought and paid for your health and healing in the Finished Work.

 How can I be so confident that healing is God's will for everybody? First, because of the Goodness of God revealed in His Word. Secondly, because of the compassion of Jesus seen in Him ministering healing, provision, and wholeness to the multitudes. Lastly because of the perfect work of redemption where Jesus bore all mankind's sin, spiritual death, sickness, disease, and poverty and declared it is Finished!

 God is a Good God. His great goodness and love are manifest in the healing of the sick and afflicted. This was the motive of Jesus on earth to heal. 

 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14 NKJV

 This is the revealed will of God. God wants you well. Put your Faith in His Faith and Finished Work and receive your healing and wholeness. It doesn't matter how the sickness got there. It doesn't matter how long it's been there. It only matters that Jesus purchased your healing. When you accepted Christ, you partook of all His redemption. You're already the healed in Him. Just receive the manifestation.

 In summation, is it God's will to heal? Without question, it is always His will to heal. Just like it's God's will for everyone to be saved, it is God's will for everyone to be healed, and it's God's will for everyone to be blessed in Christ! We have the witness of the Word, the witness of God's goodness, the witness of Jesus' compassion on earth, and we have the witness of the Finished Work. It is God's will for everyone to be healed. 
 

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