Communion

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When I was younger and I read in my bible how the people turned away from God, how Elijah ran scared from Jezebel, or how the disciples messed up, I would think to myself “if I had been there I wouldn’t have done that.” I also used to day dream about how wonderful it would have been if Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned. I thought that somehow my relationship with God would have been so much better. I was jealous of them for getting to walk in the cool of the evening with Him. That had I been there, my choice would have been different than the one they made. That’s easy to say living on this side of the cross. We see the consequences of their actions all laid out for us in Scripture. Now that I am a little older, I am pretty confident that had I been there, at that time, I too would have fallen for the serpent’s lies. While thinking about all of this one day, the Lord spoke these words into my heart, “He who has been forgiven much, loved much.” So I looked that verse up and found it in Luke 7:41-48 (ESV),

(Jesus said,) “A certain money lender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do ou see this woman? I entered your house: you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave m no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

This woman, of less than a perfect reputation, had come into the home of Simon the Pharisee where Jesus was eating. They all knew who she was, or what she was. Yet, she went anyway, uninvited. Why would she put herself in this embarrassing, humbling position? Because she loved Him much! He had forgiven her so much and she was extremely grateful. After reading this scripture I realized that I couldn’t have loved God any more than I do now, even if I had lived in the Paradise of Eden, because like that woman, I have been forgiven much.

That marvelous love, the love that caused the Father to give His only son, the love that drove that Son to the cross and held Him when no earthly nails could have, that is the love that drew me to Him. I love Him because of His merciful forgiveness, for what He has done on the cross, for how much my life has changed, and for the simple fact that despite my shortcoming, my failings, and yes, my sin, He still loves me.

Next time you join together in communion, as you remember His broken body and His shed blood, remember His love. Remember for just a minute who you were, and who you are now. He did that!

Father, I thank You that I was born in this time and in this place. I didn’t miss out on anything by not being born into paradise. Jesus, thank You for Your great love, the love that poured out as freely as Your blood, the blood that washed away all of my sin. I am grateful and because I am grateful, I love you and I choose to accept all that You purchased for me by Your shed blood and Your broken body.

He Is Willing

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God is willing. In Luke Chapter 5, a man with leprosy says to Jesus, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The Amplified says, “Lord, if you will, you are able to cure me and make me clean.”
The man knew that Jesus was able, but he was unsure about the willingness of Jesus. But Jesus proved His willingness by reaching out and touching the leper. Leprosy is highly contagious, that is why they had to live outside of the city and had to call out “unclean” as they walked among people. Years later, leper colonies were established to keep the spread down to a minimum. So needless to say, you never touched a leper. But Jesus did. God with Us reached out in love and touched this hurting, shamed, lonely man. Probably the first human contact the man had had in years, and most certainly his first contact with a loving Savior.
Jesus’ reply is simple, but life changing. “I am will: be cleansed.”

In Matthew 19 there are parents trying to bring their little ones to Jesus. The self-important disciples think that is ‘below’ Jesus to waste time with mere children. Jesus however said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.” No one was too young, too old, too rich, too poor, too pretty, too ugly, too far-gone for His love, His attention. He took time for them all.

Blind Bartimaeus knew this. Mark 10:46-52 The Message
“They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus. Jesus said, “What can I do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you. “In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.”

He continued to yell, as they continued to tell him “shut up.” He heard the call. He knew that there was faith activated. He always knows. He went to the man who demanded an audience with the one who could restore his sight. Willingly Jesus granted his simple request. Bartimaeus lost the name “blind” that day.

Jesus is willing. God is willing. When Adam gave everything, legally, over to Satan, that was no surprise to the Father. He knew what was going to happen, but He willing created man and gave him dominion. Then when there was no other way for redemption, Jesus willingly shed His own innocent blood, bore our infirmities and sin, or shame and our punishment. The Ultimate Sacrifice. The Father willingly allowed His Son to pay our price. The cross proves their willingness.

Then the most amazing thing of all! They willingly forgive us for nailing Him to that symbol of shame! They willingly seat us in Heaven, right with Christ. They willingly hand over all authority and dominion that we so carelessly gave to the enemy!

Yes, He is willing. What do you need?

Living Beyond the Cross: Part Two

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We need to reverence the cross, its work, Christ’s sacrifice of love. But accept your place in the Kingdom, accept his Grace, walk in your God given authority. If you have accepted the atoning work of the cross, then walk through that door into the Throne room. Walk as a Saint, a Disciple of Christ, an ambassador of Heaven, a Son of the Most High, and a joint heir with Christ. Tell sickness to leave, command bodies to be whole, command minds to be sound. Declare your blessings. Are you in a hard place? What do God and his word have to say about it? Speak God’s word over it. Then don’t stop with you and yours do it for others, saved and unsaved alike. No one has to earn it, it’s theirs. The goodness of God turns hearts to repentance.
God just wants to love and bless people. He wants every area of our lives to be blessed, physically, spiritually, mentally, financially and any other area you can think of. He loves to bless his children and he wants his family to grow. Our job is to bring the Kingdom of light, of love to the lost world. We have to accept it ourselves first, “freely you have received, freely give.” The Kingdom is a King, a Kingdom and a Royal Family. It’s about a Father and the love he has for his children. He’s a good Father, wanting to give good gifts to his children. The Kingdom is the all compassing; never ending love of the Father poured out through Jesus and now shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Why? So we can do what Jesus did. Enlarge; add to the Kingdom/family of God. If they don’t become part of our family, then they remain with their father the devil. You are in one kingdom or the other, there is no neutral territory.
So in practical terms, if someone needs healing, we don’t need to explain the whole process of the cross, the stripes, the blood, they can learn the how and the why later. We just need to lay hands on them and pronounce them healed. Tell sickness to leave, tell health to come. Tell bodies to be whole, minds to be sound, debt to leave, money to come, bless people. What’s allowed in heaven? Allow it here. What’s not allowed in heaven? Don’t allow it here on earth. Is God poor, sick, sad, depressed, oppressed, tired…don’t allow that in our lives or the lives of the one’s he loves, (and he loves everyone). What is allowed in heaven? Peace, joy, strength, love, discernment, wisdom, riches, health, the list is too huge to include it all here. We don’t have to wait for heaven to have it. God already brought heaven into our hearts, now our job is to bring heaven here, to earth. The governments of this world can’t do it, the media, Hollywood, economics, education, those things can’t bring us heaven. God’s children, knowing who he is and who we are, we can!
All of creation groans, waiting for us to come into our authority.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and if children, then heirs-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time fare not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of god. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the hold creation groans and labors with birth pains together until now.” Romans 8:16-22
I am changing what I say, how I think and how I pray. That’s what true repentance is, changing our minds, turning away from the world and the kingdom of darkness to the love of God and the Kingdom of Light. Turning from out past to our glorious future in Christ. Jesus’ work on the cross provided the way for us to do that, his beautiful, horrible sacrifice…
I don’t want him to remain forever nailed there. Jesus moved past the cross, won’t you do the same?

Living Beyond the Cross: Part One

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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.

More tomorrow…

Not Incomplete

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Why do we as humans try to add to the work of Christ? Or why do we want to keep dragging Him back to the cross to re-crucify Him, as if the one time wasn’t enough? Charles Spurgeon says, “There is an inherent blasphemy in seeking to add to what Christ Jesus in His dying moments declared to be finished, or to improve that in which the Lord Jehovah finds perfect satisfaction. Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; and accept the Lord Jesus to be the altar of thine atonement, and rest in Him alone.” Jesus Himself declared, “And the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true: It is finished!” (Rev 21:5-6) Jesus told John to even write it down, so that he would always remember and so that we would have these words forever! John shows us again in John 19:30 the scene of the cross stating, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” What God Himself has declared as FINISHED, can we declare incomplete? Sometimes I think we must all be crazy! How patient the Father is. God gave me a picture of my frustrated efforts in the past. When I had been calling out to Jesus to ‘DO SOMETHING’. It was a half comical movie of a woman with the emaciated version of Christ (the way the old renaissance paintings portray Him, skinny and weak). He was lying on the ground, with the white loin cloth, rolling His eyes to heaven, while this woman had Him by the wrist, dragging Him back to the cross. In her other hand she held a big spike! I had to laugh and said, ‘how stupid”! Then God showed me her face! Yep, it was me! I didn’t even have to ask Him to explain. I got it. I know I am not the only one…admit it we’ve all been there at least once. But I am DETERMINED not to “crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame”. (Heb 6:6 NKJV) The work of the cross is not incomplete. We do not have to ‘earn it’! There is no work that we can do that is greater than what He already did! Jesus is not a man that He should lie! HE SAID IT IS FINISHED! Stand on that!