"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Good-Will Or God's Will

Performing Christianity as a delegate
Releasing the life of Christ in us as an ambassador

"...as it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one.'"  (Romans 3:10)

We see in the world around us how unbelievers are seemingly able to make "good choices", especially in regards to the welfare of those who suffer unjustly. Yet even this is just basic human compassion, because it lacks the pure love and motives of God. There always lies an ulterior, selfish motive behind anything resembling a "good choice" among those void of the Holy Spirit.

Fear is one of the more powerful human emotions that will quickly force a "good" choice toward others, yet its true motive is simply human preservation. Perfect love, as we know, casts out fear. There is no "choice" involved when it comes to perfect love. It simply is.

A Christian may even think about the good choices they themselves make, but the reality is, they are merely releasing the nature of one of two spirits within at a particular moment, be it human or Holy. The human spirit, at best, works out of a sense of responsibility, obligation, and preservation. The Holy Spirit, however, works from the very heart of God, pouring forth pure love that is sacrificial and eternally hopeful. Only the lives that have surrendered their human will into the hands of the Father through the cross will demonstrate this. (1 Corinthians 2:2-5)

There is only one reality that has kept this world from imploding in on itself; it is the mercy and grace of God. (2 Thessalonians 2:7) One aspect of this grace is the moral law introduced among humans. Now while the law was introduced to increase the trespass (Romans 5:20), the consequences of breaking the law was designed to incite fear in the hearts of the lawless. Yet we know the law has limited restraint on evil.

In the Garden, before the fall, God had given the first law to Adam and Eve; "You are not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." How were they able to break this law? ...they simply did not have the faith to do otherwise. But faith is never of our own doing, nor is it just possessing the power of God to believe, or His provision to obey. Faith is the life and character of God so deeply wrought in a person that they become the essence of Holiness themselves. Yet it comes at a great cost; it is not casually imparted.

So, what is truly good and faithful are those whom God has allowed to eat from the Tree of Life while suffering through a world that has only partaken from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You see, without intimacy with Jesus, good and evil becomes open to any one's interpretation, thereby making it impossible to truly love God or neighbor. You end up with people seeking to increase their own personal welfare; they are selfish and lawless.

It is only by God's grace and mercy that good and evil configures into His ultimate purposes for something that appears so chaotic here on earth. Anything found truly good in humanity has its source in Jesus. He is the Tree of Life. This is what was lacking in the relationships of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could not have possessed anything "good" within themselves, for they would not have disobeyed God if they were indeed "good". (Psalm 47:3, Mark 10:18, Romans 3:12)

This is not to argue against the fact that God called everything He created in the beginning, "good". Indeed, it was "very good", because He had set into motion a plan for His creation. Like the beginning of creation itself, dark and void, we too were spawned into frustration and futility, with the Spirit of God hovering over us as well. God had ordained that the end purpose of humanity would be to reveal the sons and daughters of God; those that will have gone through the same suffering that His Only Begotten had suffered first, becoming the first born of many. They would become His very own dwelling place for eternity! They are the children of faith. (Romans 8:18-23), (Galatians 2:21-22), (Hebrews 11)

The key component of humans obtaining God's Holiness without simply becoming robotic in nature is to suffer alongside others who have yet to receive Faith. But we are not called to forsake them, we are called to reach out to them. We are called to love them; to bless them, not to curse them; to care and tend to them, not to avoid them; to afford mercy to them, not to condemn them; to forgive them, not to judge them. We are called to give up our human rights so that we may become a testimony of the living Christ.

Active Christianity today lacks the understanding that we are called to be ambassadors of Christ, not delegates. The role of an ambassador is to be a perfect representation of the one who sent them. They speak what was spoken to them; they do what they were told to do (perfect love). On the other hand, a delegate has some wiggle room. They have been delegated authority to make decisions or even change the outcome should they feel it warranted. They can shut down the entire process if they feel threatened (fear). Can you see the huge difference in the witness between the two?

The former represents a pure authority without shifting shadows. The ambassador illuminates a trustworthy source because their very nature never gets out of line from that source. They are not concerned with the results of their work; they are only mindful of yielding to the pure expression of that source. This, too, is their peace.

The latter represents the endless possibilities of continued bargaining. Arrangements or agreements can change at the drop of a hat and therefore, no real trust can be established between the parties. Delegates come with an agenda and will fight tooth and nail to achieve it. They convey in their very character that there is a compelling ulterior motive behind every move they make. Diplomacy is their only peacemaker.

So, what then is "truly good"? Why, the good news, of course. God's will, not man's good-will. We are God's treasure in jars of clay for the purpose of reaching out to a lost world whose only hope is the pure source of life. Let us become a pure representative of the treasure we carry within. We were never called to pick up where we think God left off; an Acts 29 pursuit if you will. God has not and does not delegate His authority. Rather we are called to become empty of ourselves so that we become full of His Spirit. The life is His, the work is His, the battle is His, the result is His. Remember, "it is finished".

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)


"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Tithes To Talents

The errant teaching of tithing found in churches today, especially Malachi 3, is one of the biggest guilt trips laid on church members in order to support a lavish building complex and infrastructure. In Malachi 3:8 we read, "Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and offerings."

Since our hope is for the life of Christ in us, then Malachi 3 has nothing to do with us regarding financial support of an institutional church community. Everything in the natural realm is a shadow of the spiritual realm (if we will but look for it). Verse 10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this…". I believe this is right in step with the parable of the talents.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Obedience Before Intimacy?

The New Testament, taken in its literal form, appeals to the unsanctified mind as a mere extension of the Old Testament law, full of commands that appear to direct and control the behavior of believers within the church. The legalistic mindset loves to build community around the law because it has no desire to allow the Spirit of the word to challenge their lifestyle. Sadly, the 'flesh' desires nothing more than that of human authority, because they can either fight to change it, or just leave it when ever they decide it no longer suits their desires. This is a mind void of the idea that they "were bought at a price", because to come under the authority of the Holy Spirit is to surrender ones entire life to His work.