Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity...

There are many in the church who exclude seekers outside of their personal denominations. God came to set the captives free and bind the broken hearted. The Word was made flesh and is The Truth. When we allow the spirit of religion to make Jesus Christ a "members only" club we are following the enemy and not Christ's example. He sought out the lost (in and out of the church) and taught them the Truth regardless of their current belief system. We limit our God and His love for His people when we call anyone who teaches to those who are lost (in and out of the church) false teachers. 
We must be discerning but not blinded by the enemy. We must listen to the Spirit's prompting and obey Him even when it is to teach or (oh my word perform a miracle/healing etc) to a or on a "heathen". Christ's love is not exclusive. He died and was resurrected that NONE should perish. Our bible studies and churches should be clear in their teaching of the Gospel but be teaching it to ALL people. The Word will not go void. If a teacher is teaching His Word and The Gospel as the only way to the One True God then The WORD and the HOLY SPIRIT will do the work and move those who have been misled or misinformed and/or blinded into TRUTH.
So often we operate out of fear that somehow these outsiders will infect our churches and we will be overtaken and destroyed. Our God is bigger than that and we do NOT have to operate out of fear. Christ wasn't scared (even as a child) to walk into the temple and teach. He didn't tell those seeking truth that because they were misinformed and lied to that they were not welcome to sit at His feet. 
Yes- we must be pressing into the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. Yes- we must guard against false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing but, we must do so with His heart and His love for His people not out of the spirit of fear and religion. Those spirits would have us believe that God isn't wise enough or strong enough to move those hearts without us actively pointing out their sin and making them "see" the light first before inviting them into our house. Those spirits cause disunity.
We have been given a trust to guard and He will guard it through us as we do our job. If we are armed with His Word (sword), pray without ceasing for wisdom, look for His fruit and consistency of His character in the teaching, be mindful that we fight against powers and principalities not flesh and blood and hold fast to the Truth that He is fully capable of revealing Himself to ALL people; we can rest in His perfect love and embrace the fact that He will not fail us or lead us astray.
"Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:14-17

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Come Forth

So much has happened since I last took the time to write here.  I would love to write all about it but that's not what God has put on my heart today (maybe another time).
I have been learning so much and I still have so much more to learn.  It is amazing how Jesus continues to sanctify and refine us!  His love is unending and all encompassing! Christ's heart is that we communicate with Him and allow Him to communicate with us.  He speaks today just as He has spoken since the beginning of time.  He wants a relationship!  That's a two way street- a ping pong game - a dance that requires a partner. Listening and speaking back and forth, back and forth. 
As I sat and stared at Mt. Adams this weekend, I listened to the wind moving through the tree tops and a thought came to me.  The roar of that wind, that bellowing sound, was Christ's Mercy and Grace for His people!  I desperately want to stay in that roar and feel that wind move around me and through me.  I want to let that power remove the shackles on my soul and heal my brokenness. My Savior yearns to heal me, to bind my broken heart and free me from captivity.  He delights in saving me from the schemes of the Enemy!  He is my Warrior King!  He is my Playful and All Knowing Father!  He is my Forever Friend and my One True Love!
I asked Him in that moment of inspiration, "What do you say about me Lord? About us-Your Beloved Bride? How do you see us? Me?"
His answer was gentle but truthful and a story started to unfold in my mind. 
Jesus is standing at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus.  Tears and wailing all around Him.  His heart breaking for His friends and the pain of death.  In that moment of suffering, He speaks- "Open the tomb."  Shocked that He would open a grave with a rotting and stinking corpse lying in it, the people balked.  They could not understand it.  They didn't want to be forced to come face to face with that stench of death!  That rot and decay! 
"Do you want to see the glory of God?", He said.  They acquiesced. 
More Words were spoken- "Lazarus, come forth." 
A man bound up with his burial clothes stumbles out of the darkness,  he can not believe it!  He is ALIVE!  He feels the sun on his wrappings and he heard his name called out by his good friend.  His friend is the One!  Messiah!  Glory! Glory!  But he is still bound.  He can not see clearly, speak freely, hear easily.  He shuffles about as he tries to walk toward his Liberator. He is desperate to run to His Friend and hold Him tightly but he is restrained by the bindings of death. 
As I watched this story play, I heard Christ gently say- "That is my Bride.  Alive in Me but still hanging on to her burial clothes.  Still clinging to what she is familiar with and not allowing the story to finish.  She wants to see me, speak with me, hear me, run to me and hold on to me but she can't fully because she is bound up by what I wanted to remove."
Then another story began. 
Another tomb appeared but this one was already opened and empty.  It was used but only for a short time.  In it were burial clothes however, these were neatly folded on the slab.  These were removed and left in the grave.  They were not needed anymore because Life had found a way from the grave.
Again I heard Him speak, "The end of the story with Lazarus was me saying unbind him and let him go!  Just as I left Death's burial clothes in my tomb- my Bride must leave her bindings behind as well.  She will finally see, speak, hear, run and hold me unencumbered if she follows my command to unbind herself and let herself go.  I AM a Safe Refuge. I AM a Good Father!  I AM her Liberator!"
Rise up Church and Unbind Yourself from the wrappings of death!  Your Father, Your Bridegroom waits to speak with you. To dance with You. To sing over and with you.  His embrace waits for you.  His heart breaks for you as you stumble in the darkness. As you act as though you are still a slave to death when He has redeemed you and given you His victorious Spirit to live in you.  You still believe the lies of the Enemy instead of your Messiah's Truth! You still wear your burial clothes- rotten and stinky clothes.  You call yourselves "only human". That is not the attire of a Bride.  That is not the new name He has given you.  That is a lie of the Enemy! 
Come Forth. Unbind and let go!  You are forgiven!  You are loved! You are infused with life giving power! You are chosen!  You are enough just how I created you!  You are ALIVE! You are MINE!  I AM my beloved's and my desire is for you, my Bride!