My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Do I have guilt or shame?

I recently heard a Christian song that was based on the Old Testament prayer in
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

It is a wonderful prayer as it applies to the Old Testament Jew; however, the song (and the verbal appeals from the worship leader) took this verse and appealed for Christians to come to God with their guilt and shame and seek forgiveness. And then a period of time at the end of the song was spent in repeating the phrase "Lord hear us from heaven."

I mean no disrespect to the song writer, or the singers, as I could feel the passion in their words, and hear the passion in their voices, but we are not Old Testament Jews. We are bought and paid for by the blood of Christ; we have the very righteousness of God imputed to us - we have NO guilt, and NO shame! There is no need for forgiveness, because all of our sins - past, present and future - are forgiven!

I can go boldly before the thone of grace; I need not cower in guilt and shame. I stand in front of my Father just as though I had NEVER sinned! I am justified! And I need not be embarrased or hide my face over the mistakes I make, big or small, God loves me just the same! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

But what of this phrase "Lord, hear us from heaven?" So many times I have prayed and felt like I was praying up to the clouds... like God was so far away, how could he possibly hear. Sometimes, it was like my prayers were bouncing back to me! God was so high above me, it seemed like I had to pray more and more fervently and weep passionately for him to hear. To just whisper a prayer to him was nonsensical, as he had so much on his mind, that he would never pause to listen to me. I had to grab his attention!

And so we beg, "Lord, hear us from heaven!" Is that how it really is? Nope! Of course, Jesus is seated on the right hand of the Father this very minute, but he is also here. Right now! In me! In every Christian. He is closer than a whisper; he hears my every thought! Before I utter a word in prayer, he knows my heart and has already begun to formulate his response. Those times when prayers bounce of the walll of clouds and back, are the times when I have forgotten that I have direct entrance to the throne of God within my very being. I have forgotten who I am! I am the temple. I house the throne room. In shouting at the clouds and begging for his attention, I am acting as though I do not have permission to tap him on the shoulder for my slightest need. Jesus is here!! WOW! It blows me away!

I think maybe the reason so many of us feel the need to shout for God's attention is because it seems to good to be true that we have such open and easy access to him. It is easier to doubt and cry out to the heavens, than to trust and whisper our thoughts.

So, there is no guilt, there is no shame, there is no more need for forgiveness, and he is ever present within us to hear our prayers.

One more thought... II Chronicles 7:14 was in reference to the Jew's actual land. As New Testament Christians we have no land holdings. We are joint heir's with Christ in the Kingdom of God, but that is a land that does not need healing! This verse really doesn't apply to us anyway.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Purpose Statement

By the way, this is my purpose in a nutshell... I may tweak it a bit... it's almost midnight, and this is the first time I've put it in writing. LOL I've had it in my head for months now.

My purpose is to use my effervescence and people skills through writing, music, and personal relationships to counsel those who are in bondage and to lead them into the freedom of worshiping God in utter abandon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Passion is the heart set free to pursue that which is truly worthy. Those who set their hearts on what is most worthy - the glory of God - live with joy-filled abandon. Their hearts are both seized and satisfied with the ambition for Jesus to be ardently worshiped. That love comes to dominate and integrate all other desires so that they live in the freedom of single-minded pupose. -Taken from Perspectives Study Guide

Love this!! It so embodies my personal pupose statement (which I haven't posted on here... will get to that evenutally)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Faith Without Works - It just ain't happenin'!

Let me start by saying that FAITH is what saves. Works has nothing to do with it. Sanctification is by FAITH. Works has nothing to do with that either. Yet, James says that faith without works is dead. What? Dead faith? I thought faith was life giving?
Well, of course faith is life giving! Faith comes from God! For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. But faith without works is dead? Really? What does this mean?

As a grace person, I have questioned this many times. I know that there is no work for me to do. I know that the only 'work' that Christ has for us is to believe unto salvation. I know that there are no 'shall's and 'shall not's for the Christian. So what are these works?

They are simply the simple outflows of Christ! It is the fruit! By your fruit you will know them. These works are not something that we do, but something that Christ does through us! These works are not something for us, but something for others to see Christ! These works are evidence to a lost world that Christ has made a difference in our lives.

James 2:18 "Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

So, a random 'good person' walks up to a random 'good Christian.' The Christian says, "Hey, you need to get saved!!" The good person says, "Nah, I have good works, I don't need anything else. I'm ok." (like the man who told Jesus that he had kept the 10 commandments from his youth) The Christian insists that salvation comes by faith alone, and the good person says, "Sure, prove it! I'm living a good life, but you are just talking a good life."

Hmmm... So James says, "I will show you my faith! I will give visible evidence to you of my faith. You will see it in my works. But were they 'James' works?? Did James then strive harder and harder to achieve a Christ-like life? No, of course not. In fact, James was a total grace freak!!! SWEET! :)

James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Can I just say I'm losing it right now!!!!!! I have heard vs. 22-24 so many times 'be a doer, be a doer, yada yada yada. But WOW! James says those who walk in liberty, those who live totally absorbed in the precious grace of God, those people who are FREE indeed, are doers of the work! These people have looked at Grace, and not turned away. These people have looked at Christ and chosen to surrender all and abide in Him, and works are a natural outflow of that! Christ in us, leading us to work for His Kingdom. Some of these things are works we are not even conscious of until after the fact, some of them are things we choose to do at the Spirit's prompting, but all of them are for one purpose: to show our faith to the lost, that people will be saved and that God will get the glory!

Let's back up a bit: Faith is life-giving. Faith gives life to me! Faith brings Christ's resurrected life to this dead spirit. Faith rocks! But, faith without works is dead because it doesn't give life to others. There is life in me, but not life for others. It's kinda like a married couple that are both perfectly fertile. They have everything they need to pass on their 'life' to a new generation. But they never have intercourse. They never consummate their relationship. Hmmm. Wonder where the children are?? What's wrong? They never 'did' anything! We have life. We are perfectly fertile Christians with the very life-Giver Himself dwelling within us... but where are our works? Where is the 'deed' that brings about New Life?

I'm not saying that we need to evangelize more, or soul-win more, or door-knock more, or start nagging all of our friends. NO!!! That is not the moral of the story!! Those are just works. I'm not talking about plain old works. I'm talking about works that spring up naturally out of love for Jesus. These aren't works you have to write down on a list so you don't forget them, or works that you need guilt-trip yourself over if you neglect them. These are works that the Spirit will guide you into and you will look back and giggle to yourself, and wonder with amazement that He allowed you to be his instrument!

But, you still have to take the initiative. We all have the option to look into the law of liberty, face that mirror, see what the Spirit wants to do in our lives to affect the lives of others, and only talk about it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jesus first? Spouse First? Struggle?

I recently had a friend ask me about the struggles I have found as a Christian within marriage in regards to maintaining my fellowship with God. Here is my reply:

I haven't found a challenge with that at all. :) I think that the reason many marriages struggle with maintaining a good balance between fellowship with God and their relationship with each other is because they are trying so hard to 'keep God number one'
I have found that it is impossible to keep God number one, and love my husband fully... therefore, I surrendered everything I am to Christ. All of me. As I did that my capacity to love my husband and my children grew by leaps and bounds!! And my fellowship with God, rather than being a struggle to maintain (as in finding time for Bible reading and prayer in the midst of all the daily issues) became a relationship that flowed naturally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is easy to be a Christian and be married if you are surrendered 100% to Christ and filled with his love. :)

The Cross: A burden or a blessing?

"Oh, I am soo burdened with this cross that I have to bear right now... It is weighing soo heavy on me. I don't know if I can make it one... more... step... Every morning I wake up and put that cross back on my shoulder and crawl my way through one more day. But thankfully God is with me! I know that He'll see me through; he is the one who gave me this cross, after all. It was he who said that I must take up my cross in order to be his disciple. So here I am, just plugging away, hoping I can survive one more day of this arduous cross-bearing life."

Hmmm. Sounds like the perfect model of abundant life! Is that what Christ really meant by 'take up your cross and follow me? I don't think so... He says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light! He says, "Come to me and I will give you rest!" Rest? Easy? Light? Wow. Are those words that describe your life? For most Christians, those words are a far cry from reality!

But wait, how is it even possible to have rest if we must carry a cross around with us everywhere we go? This is a hard life! We have temptation thrown at us from every direction. We have circumstances in our lives that are not to our own choosing. We have giant trials looming on the horizon everywhere we look, or we are in the midst of one now. Rest? There's no rest for the wicked! is the phrase that gets bantered about. No, there will be no rest until I get to heaven. Sigh.

So sad. That is not what Christ intended at all. This cross-bearing is not another 'chore' to add to our Christian check-list!! (or in this case, the ultimate Christian chore!) Nor is is suffering hardships for Jesus' sake (although that will happen!) The meaning here is so much deeper! So much better!

The cross was an instrument of death and total sacrifice. This cross that Christ asks us to bear is the cross of 100% surrender and sacrifice of our lives to him.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This is a life of complete abandon to God, even unto death! In fact, the death of self. With self removed from the picture, Christ is free to live out his life through us. We are FREE to REST in him.

This is not a life of defeat, or a life of unbearable burdens. This is a life of attaining all of my hearts desires! For, I find that as I take up my cross in pursuit of him, he gives me all the desires of my heart. The very things that I once viewed as burdens are transformed into blessings! The things I once counted gain, I now see are worthless! My view point changes drastically. And I am victorious! I am free! I am living the abundant life he had planned for me from the very beginning.

If only I had never viewed that cross as one more thing I had to do every day, I could have been enjoying this life sooo much sooner!