I love the author, Tosca Lee and have read some of her other work. This book is great. I often have speculated on what it was like for Adam and Eve to just BE, and what became of them after they were expelled from the garden. Tosca Lee does a wonderful job of giving us a possible scenario. I wanted to love it, but it is overwhelmingly sad for me. Not the writing or even the story, but the whole fall of mankind thing. The book is one of hope, they do go on with life after all. Good fiction. I give it 4 stars.
We tend to set up camp at the cross, when that was never the Father’s intention. We have come to the cross to confess our sin, accepting Jesus’ atonement…and then stayed there. Some even worship the cross. We have to go beyond the cross. The work of the cross is finished. How do I know that? Because Jesus said, “it is finished!” If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t have said it. Notice he didn’t say, “it is being finished”, “the work of the cross is continual,” no he said FINISHED. Period. We respect and reverence what Jesus did there, the price he paid, the blood he shed there, but we can’t live there, can’t stay there. We have to move past. Jesus said that he was the door-we don’t stand in doors, we go through. Jesus was the door to the Father.
So what’s on the other side of the cross? The cross is the door to the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is on the other side-the throne room. Jesus sits on that throne; he isn’t hanging on a cross. The cross couldn’t hold him, hell and the grave couldn’t hold him. He was destined, before the foundation of the world to sit on that throne. We are seated there with him, those of us who have accepted the finished work of the cross (Ephesians 2:5). Who sits on a throne? A king. Who has authority in that Kingdom? The king. The King of Kings sits on his throne in Heaven ruling his Kingdom and what does he call us? “Kings and Priests” (Revelations 5:10). What is the job of a king? To rule and reign, to use their authority to prosper the Kingdom.
I am learning-and trying to walk in this authority. It isn’t something new to me. Our Senior Pastor always talks about “A King, a Kingdom and a Royal Family.” But the word says that “Faith comes by hearing, and continuing to hear, the Word of God.” So sometimes we have to hear it over and over to get it from our heads into our hearts. Faith never takes place in our heads, always in our hearts. What our heads can’t comprehend our heart can believe. We don’t have to understand it all, just believe it all. Even the little Revelation I have received on this subject, I sometimes forget. I go back to the cross…habit, and to be honest I love to remember the love of the cross. Through some classes last week on healing and the Kingdom, some of those wrong thinking patterns were broken. So some of what I am sharing is from those classes. I hope it frees you up the way it has me.
Jesus didn’t “plead the blood”. He never said, “By the stripes on my back you are healed.” He didn’t ask his Father to heal. He prayed often, frequently all through the night, but he didn’t pray for God to heal. He hadn’t shed his blood; the cross was still in his future. But that didn’t stop him from doing his Father’s work. He healed the sick, cast out demons, cleansed lepers the list is endless. He did all of this as a man, not God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s will, motivated by their love, he did these mighty works. He knew his position, knew who he was. He didn’t let the fact that he was here as a man stop him. He knew who his Father was and that all power and authority came from the Father. “I only do what I see my Father do, I only say what he says.” He continually told the Religious people of the day that his power came from the Father.
Now, he did die, hang on that cross, shed his blood, went to Hell, took the Keys, stripped Satan of his power, and was resurrected. All of that is true, and wonderful! But he also ascended into heaven where he sits on his Throne of Power and Authority. Before he left he told us to do what he did. He told us to preach. Preach what? The cross? No the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the love of the Father that wants to see his children blessed, set free, stand and walk in their authority. To be on the offensive not just defend. Take territory; don’t just try to protect the little we have. He wants his family to grow! He told us to heal the sick. We do it, through the Holy Spirit working in us. Cast out demons. Not pray them out, cast them out. Tell them to leave. They have no authority. You do.
I know some religious toes have been stepped on and some sacred cows slaughtered. But religion stinks! It’s a set of do’s and don’ts that can only dictate how to behave. It never changes a heart. Relationship with the Father, now that changes our hearts and life’s. Now we do his work out of love for him. I swallowed hard at least a dozen times over the course of this class. I kept hearing this word ‘but’ in my head. Look at it this way, the cross, the beatings, the stripes and the blood, they were all to get us to the Throne of Grace. Important, necessary and wonderful? Yes, of course. The cross was the means to an end. The work of the cross tells us ‘how’ we got in the family of God, ‘why’ we are able to be healed, delivered and saved. ‘Why’ we have our authority. It the reason we can say to the sick, “be healed,” say to those in bondage to sin and the devil, “be free.” His stripes did heal us. His blood did cleanse us. So we are healed and clean. We don’t have to ask God to do these things, they are done. Accept it. Live like its true!
When we keep going back to the cross, it’s as if we crucify him again. Wasn’t once enough? God’s word tells us it was “once for all.” Just think about that for a minute…
Can you hear him calling you from the Throne of Grace?
So maybe you screwed up yesterday, you fell away, stumbled into some old sin…so what? There is Grace in the Throne room of God. Turn from the sin. That’s all repentance is, really. It’s already under that blood. It’s already been forgiven. When we live in the Kingdom, we become his ambassadors. We find that we don’t mess up as often, we stumble less. We are, like Jesus, only doing what the Father said and saying what he told us to say. We are part of that Royal Family sharing the goodness of the King. Who wouldn’t want to come out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light with us? If you are one of those who declare themselves “a sinner saved by Grace,” stop it! God said not to call unclean the things he has made clean. Jesus’ blood cleansed us; we are clean, no more sinners but saints, Sons no longer servants. God said, he never lies.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Our enemies are not made of flesh and blood. We all know that right? We’ve heard it preached, taught and we’ve read it ourselves in God’s word. People are not our enemies. But, honestly, that is hard to remember at times. We can be so easily irritated by that one person (or sometimes several different people). I have found myself, more times than I am comfortable admitting to, wanting to “lay hands on” someone because of their words or actions and it had nothing to do with prayer or imparting gifts! Or as my grandson likes to say “give them a five knuckle sandwich.” It’s easier to see the carrier, the messenger, than the real enemy. Our enemy is Satan. He comes to only kill, steal and destroy. He and his minions are spirit and can only operate through people. My pastor uses the term, “principalities that use personalities.” That person that antagonizes, manipulates, irritates, brings division and harm, is operating under the influence, and sometimes control, of an evil spirit and most of the time they aren’t even aware of that fact. There are those occasions that the only enemy is our own human nature, our own flesh, but we will leave that for another day.
There have been times that we have been hurt, or worse, had to watch a loved one be crushed under abusive behavior. We have all been affected by or witness to bullying, unfair treatment, discrimination and all of those other ugly behaviors, all products of the fallen world we live in. They stem from anger, bitterness, pride, selfishness and straight from the pit of hell. So how do we keep things in perspective? How do we not lash out in anger and revenge at those who have hurt, or continue to hurt us? How do we look past the flesh and blood person and see the evil lurking behind? First, we have to accept God’s love in our lives, His love for us and His love for others, including that person who has you wanting to behave in an ungodly way. We need to renew our minds, wash it out, with God’s word (Romans 12:2). When we love God’s law we aren’t easily offended (Psalm 119:165). When we stand on God’s word, write it on the tablets of our hearts and we allow God to fill us with His love we are slow to judge and quick to forgive. Love covers a multitude of sins, so it allows us to overlook some of the behavior (Proverbs 6:12). Another way that we can overlook the flesh is to remember at one time we were just like they were. There is a reason they are called “the lost”. We were unloving, backbiting, selfish children of our father, the devil.
Quite often the ones that hurt us the most are our own loved ones, family members, spouses, our Church family. Some are even professing Christians (I would say they may still have a lot of their carnal nature there, living by their senses). How do we handle that? First off remember that they are not the enemy! If someone has offended you, we are supposed to go to them. That can be harder than asking someone to forgive you, I know. Occasionally, you will find that they never intended to hurt and didn’t realize they even did. Sometimes they know they did, but refuse to admit fault or ask for forgiveness. If it’s a big deal, ask for leaders to help with the situation, if it is not a major thing, just shake the dust off of your feet and move on. Forgiveness isn’t an emotion, it’s a choice. You choose to forgive, whether they ever admit fault or not, and let your emotions catch up. When the behavior is continued, and the relationship is toxic, forgive, but don’t stay in relationship with that person. God never intended for abusive behavior to be part of a family. Sometimes we have to distance ourselves from people and their sin. Don’t be a part of sinful behavior. Forgiving isn’t saying what they did was acceptable or that you will allow the behavior to continue in your life. You are just letting the junk go out of your own heart and refusing to hold it against them. Forgive, but move on! Let go of the anger, hurt and pain and allow God to heal. Satan hates that. He loses the battle when you forgive.
I am not saying this is all easy! From time to time, we will all face the enemy with the face of a friend, or at least a human face. But look past that face of flesh and see the evil lurking behind. Rebuke the devil; arrest his plans in your life and the life of the person he is using. Our enemy is not a person with a different opinion, skin color, doctrine, faith or beliefs. Our enemy isn’t the rapist, murderer, adulterer or even that grouchy neighbor next door. Pray for those who seem to be your enemy, the person who is being used by Satan. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Be kind to those who have the enemy working in them. This heaps coals on the head of our true enemy. Love the un-loveable. Forgive those who have hurt you. Our enemy is spirit and must be fought with spiritual weapons. We use God’s word. How does he feel about that person, the situation, your reaction? Use the blood of Jesus. Plead the blood over your life and the life of that person who has hurt you. Testify of God’s goodness. What He is doing, has done, how He feels about you, and how much He loves you. Praise God, it stills the enemy and the avenger (makes him shut up and stop his attack.) Be slow to judge and quick to forgive. Satan hates that as well.
You’ll see it all gets easier. You’ll find yourself hurt and offended less. Your patience with people will be greater and your love stronger. Relationships will be restored. Families and Churches will have less division. We will be more careful of how we treat others. Life’s too short to hold grudges and allow bitterness to take over our lives. When we do that, Satan wins the battle and gains ground. None of us want that. The person you once saw as your worst enemy might just end up being a brother or sister in Christ. God want that. He doesn’t like their behavior any more than you do…but He LOVES them. He wants them found and accepted into the beloved.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that your may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. There for take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with the truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness. And having shod you feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18